Jason Alan Kilar (born April 26, 1971) is an American businessperson. He became the CEO of WarnerMedia on May 1, 2020. He was previously an Amazon executive and the CEO of Hulu, a joint venture OTT media service currently owned by The Walt Disney Company (67%) and NBCUniversal (33%).
Early life and career
Jason Alan Kilar was born in Pittsburgh. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1993 and continued his education at Harvard Business School, earning an MBA.
On January 4, 2013, he announced his resignation from Hulu after five years, together with Hulu CTO Rich Tom. The next month, Kilar joined the board of directors for DreamWorks Animation.
In 2014, he announced Vessel, a subscription video service, where he was CEO and backed by investment companies Benchmark, Greylock Partners, and Bezos Expedition until the site was eventually sold to Verizon Communications in 2016.
On April 1, 2020, WarnerMedia then-CEO John Stankey announced that Kilar would be assuming the role effective May 1, 2020. Stankey announced that Kilar would be reporting to Stankey, who will remain COO of AT&T. On April 24, 2020, it was announced that Stankey will become the CEO of AT&T on July 1, 2020.
In December 2020, Kilar announced that Warner Bros. films released in 2021 would be released on a streaming service at the same time as they were released in theaters. The prior practice was to release films to theaters for a 90-day period before releasing them in other formats. The move was decried by many in Hollywood, including Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve, while also being described as plainly violating the contractual rights of some of those who worked on the films. In February 2021, Kilar evoked a possible cinematografic sequel of Harry Potter. In March 2021, Kilar drew more ire by claiming that COVID-19 is "really good for ratings" in conversation with Fox Corporation's Lachlan Murdoch. He later apologized for making this comment and added that "I would like nothing more than for this pandemic to be well behind us".
In 1989, Jason Kilar attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He graduated in 1993 Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in journalism and business administration. Mike Lehr, his former roommate was quoted saying that Kilar was "the triple threat", "smart, creative, and energetic".
Kilar also attended Harvard Business School, entering in the fall of 1995. In his second year at Harvard Business School, Kilar took a class called "Managing in the Marketspace", taught by Jeffrey Rayport. In a class convened at Aldrich Hall, Kilar met Jeff Bezos, and interviewed with Bezos a week after. Kilar has called Bezos the "single greatest business leader of the last hundred years". Kilar's later time at WarnerMedia, however, has involved some unpopular decisions that have caused insiders, including senior management, to question his leadership.