WBD restructures diversity, equity & inclusion, as SVP Karen Horne departs

Karen Horne

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is laying off Karen Horne, its US diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) lead.

Joining in 2020, Burbank-based Horne serves as SVP for DE&I, overseeing its implementation in North America, as well as the company’s Workshop program, which was created to increase diversity on WBD shows.

WBD had initially planned to close the program last year, but quickly backtracked on its decision and instead moved it to be housed in the DE&I division.

Horne’s exit comes amid a slew of senior cuts at the US media giant in recent months amid its post-merger restructuring, though a WBD spokesperson told The Los Angeles Times, which first reported Horne’s departure, that her lay-off was not due to cost-cutting measures, but rather a reorganisation of the DE&I team.

Chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer Asif Sadiq will remain at the company and now leads the team, having confirmed Horne’s departure in a memo to staff last week.

Detailing changes to the team structure, he wrote: “We will now have designated leads who are tasked solely with employee-related initiatives in each region. This will enable our content program leads to have a truly global perspective when developing opportunities for diverse talent and increasing representation on screen and behind the camera, while ensuring the regional leads can focus on how we educate, empower, and engage our employees.

“As a result of this new approach, Karen Horne, Senior Vice President of North America DE&I, who has a broad DE&I portfolio beyond employee-related initiatives, will be departing the company. As you know, Karen is a talented executive who is committed to our shared goals of creating an even more inclusive company and an accessible and equitable industry.”

Sadiq revealed in the memo that the team will shortly begin a search for a new group VP of North America DE&I to oversee employee-focused DE&I initiatives.

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