- WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar hired a frequent collaborator to lead tech at the legacy-media company.
- Richard Tom, who became CTO in June, is an alum of Hulu, Vessel, and Verizon.
- Tom’s 10 deputies include AT&T and Warner Bros. veterans, Xandr execs, as well as some Hulu alums.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
This post was originally published on May 10 and has been updated to include a new hire.
When WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar was searching in spring 2020 for a technology chief to help him modernize the legacy-media company, he turned to longtime friend and frequent collaborator Richard Tom.
Tom and Kilar had worked together at
during its early days, when Kilar was chief executive and Tom was on the founding development team. Tom ultimately rose to become Hulu’s chief technology officer. The pair also cofounded the short-form video service Vessel, which was acquired by Verizon, where Tom became an executive.
Last June, the two rejoined forces at WarnerMedia.
Tom is now leading its technology and operations groups. Prior CTO, Jeremy Legg, moved into the top tech job at AT&T Communications, the telecom division of WarnerMedia’s parent company AT&T.
Tom’s role at WarnerMedia broadly includes oversight of the technology platform for WarnerMedia’s marquee streaming service
, ad-tech arm Xandr, data strategy, and more.
He is making his mark on WarnerMedia with the help of his new executive team, which is now firmly in place after a company-wide reorganization.
“Richard is a rare bird in that he brings deep technical chops, a dogged customer focus, clear and bold vision, and a magnetism that attracts other world class builders to him,” Kilar said in a statement when he hired Tom.
The technology leadership include AT&T and Warner Bros. veterans, Xandr execs, as well as some new hires who also came up at Hulu.
Tom’s 10 direct reports include:
- Bob Hesskamp, EVP of production engineering, who spent much of his career leading operations and technical teams at CNN and Turner, most recently under Legg, the previous CTO.
- Patty Hirsch, EVP of digital platforms for the entertainment and news and sports divisions, who previously oversaw Warner Bros.’ digital labs and data-intelligence units. She was a digital exec at Time and CBS Interactive before WarnerMedia.
- Ben John, Xandr’s CTO, who joined WarnerMedia through AT&T’s acquisition of ad-tech firm AppNexus, which has been sunsetted and became the foundation of the Xandr business. John spent more than five years at AppNexus, and previously worked at companies including Experian and Kaplan Test Prep.
- Lonn Lee, SVP of tech design and management, who worked with Tom and Kilar at Hulu and Vessel. Lee was most recently an advertising product lead at Facebook before coming to WarnerMedia in November. He worked at Microsoft earlier in his career, as did Tom.
- Jason Press, EVP of engineering and technical program management, who came to WarnerMedia to oversee the tech stack that supports streaming services including HBO’s old platform, HBO Now, and HBO Max. He joined the company as it acquired streaming technology startup You.i, which Press sat on the board of. He spent about 10 years at cable giant Comcast and six years as a digital exec at Condé Nast.
- Kevin Seng, SVP of advertising technology, another Hulu alum, who was most recently director of engineering at Snapchat before joining WarnerMedia in November. Seng also worked at Microsoft earlier in his career.
- Kathy Styponias, EVP of strategy and business operations, who was a tech executive at HBO for seven years before stepping into her current role. Before HBO, she was a general manager at Microsoft, where she oversaw a team that worked with the third-party apps on Xbox’s network.
- Suja Viswesan, head of data, who was hired from LinkedIn. Viswesan was most recently director of engineering at the professional-network company. She spent much of her career before LinkedIn at IBM.
- Mike Welch, Xandr’s EVP and general manager, who runs the ad-tech arm. Welch was a longtime advertising exec at AT&T before moving over to Xandr in 2017.
- Jeff Zeitz, SVP of monetization and workplace tech, who comes from the Warner Bros. side of the business. Zeitz spent more than 20 years at the studio group in various business systems and technology roles.