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WarnerMedia creates new executive position focused on diversity and inclusion

John Stankey, the chief executive of WarnerMedia, speaks at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Beverly Hills last year.

WarnerMedia, roiled by a sex scandal that led to the departure of former studio chief Kevin Tsujihara, said it will create a new executive position that will focus on diversity and inclusion.

In an internal email sent to staff on Thursday, WarnerMedia Chief Executive John Stankey said the role will be created in the coming weeks and will report directly to him.

The new role, which will be called chief diversity and inclusion officer, was created in response to a recent internal town hall meeting during which the subject of representation was addressed.

“I was asked about the lack of women and diversity on stage,” Stankey said in his email obtained by The Times. “I understand how important this is. In order for WarnerMedia to be the best company we can be, we have to include diverse voices at every level of our business. And while we already have some of the most talented women and diverse executives in the industry, we have more work to do.”

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The announcement comes as the New York-based WarnerMedia, the parent company of Warner Bros., CNN and HBO, is grappling with the consequences of Tsujihara’s resignation. On Monday, Tsujihara stepped down following a story in the Hollywood Reporter that he sought to promote the career of an actress with whom he had a sexual relationship.

“It is in the best interest of WarnerMedia, Warner Bros., our employees and our partners for Kevin to step down as chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.,” Stankey said in a statement on Monday.

WarnerMedia was created last year following AT&T’s acquisition of the company formerly known as Time Warner Inc. in an $85.4-billion deal. The company’s other properties include the cable channels TNT and TBS.

Diversity officers are becoming increasingly common among large entertainment corporations. In August, Netflix named Vernā Myers to the newly created role of vice president for inclusion strategy. Companies including the Walt Disney Co. and NBCUniversal already have chief diversity officer positions.

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Stankey said on Thursday that WarnerMedia has recently implemented a new talent review and management process designed to identify and promote emerging talent within the company.

“This will help ensure our business encourages and values diverse perspectives, supports the unique voices of the talent we work with, and is reflected in the world-class content we create,” Stankey said in the email.

“This isn’t just something that’s nice to do, it is essential to our future success.”

david.ng@latimes.com

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT


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