WarnerMedia’s president of France, Benelux, Germany, Austria and Switzerland Iris Knobloch is stepping down, after 25 years with the company.
Knobloch was most recently responsible for the development and execution of WarnerMedia’s strategy across the region, as well as overseeing all commercial and group marketing activities.
Her remit included oversight of content licensing, home entertainment and consumer products, as well as theatrical distribution and local theatrical productions. She also looked after ad sales and affiliate distribution for the WarnerMedia channels.
Knobloch, who is leaving to pursue an unspecified “new challenge”, first joined Warner Bros. in 1996, working in offices in LA, London and Paris. She then became SVP of Time Warner, in charge of international relations and strategic policy for Europe, before being named president of Warner Bros. Entertainment in France & Benelux, a role she held from 2006.
TBI understands her exit is not related to the recent WarnerMedia-Discovery deal.
Gerhard Zeiler, who was appointed president of WarnerMedia International last year, described Knobloch as “one of the most respected international executives in the industry”.
He added: “I respect her decision that now is the time for her to take on new challenges and, together with all our colleagues across the company, wish her the very best.”
Knobloch added: “The company has given me the opportunity for an amazing career spanning strategic roles in various countries and continents and accompanying significant technological transformations from DVD to digital downloads to streaming, while also allowing me to contribute to important creative successes like the multiple Oscar-winning movie The Artist, so the decision to leave has not been easy.
“I feel incredibly lucky to have been surrounded by colleagues who share my passion for our industry and our audiences, and I am immensely proud of the business we have built together. I am so grateful to my team and my colleagues at WarnerMedia and wish them all the best for the future.”
Knobloch’s exit comes less than a month after the shock announcement that AT&T would be spinning off WarnerMedia with Discovery, to create a new standalone company. Yesterday, its name was revealed to be Warner Bros. Discovery, which will house nearly 200,000 hours of programming as well as the HBO Max and Discovery+ streamers.
Her departure also follows more than a year of ongoing restructuring at WarnerMedia, which announced in August it was bringing the international operations of Warner Bros., HBO and Turner together for the first time, under the remit of Zeiler.
Priya Dogra has since been appointed as head of WarnerMedia EMEA & Asia (excl. China) as part of the company’s focus on streaming, while other changes saw the creation of a newly-formed TV & digital distribution team in the UK & Ireland under recently appointed chief Polly Cochrane, following the departure of Josh Berger.
How the creation of Warner Bros. Discovery will affect the recently installed WarnerMedia structure remains to be seen. The company’s group CEO Jason Kilar last week put an end to speculation about his immediate future at the newly-merged entertainment giant, telling employees that he will remain with the company at least until the early part of 2022.
His announcement came following reports that he was negotiating his way out of the company after being frozen out of merger talks between AT&T and Discovery.