WarnerMedia's CEO, who pushed Jeff Zucker out of his role as president of CNN in February, announced his resignation Tuesday ahead of a company merger.

Jason Kilar will resign from the company when WarnerMedia completes its merger with Discovery, which is expected to be finalized by May. He had been kept in the dark about the deal but opted to stay with the company until the merger, which was announced last May and received approval from the Justice Department in February, was complete, per the Wall Street Journal.

“With the pending transaction with Discovery nearing close, now is the right time to share with each of you that I will be departing this amazing company,” he told staff in a note Tuesday obtained by the Washington Examiner. “There are many feelings one could have in a moment like this, but for me, there are none bigger, or more lasting, than the feelings of gratitude and love that I have for this team, this company, and this mission.”

Kilar took the reins as CEO of WarnerMedia in 2020 and dealt with numerous controversies during his tenure, including scandals at CNN under Zucker's leadership. The former CNN president stepped down from his role in February following revelations he secretly had an undisclosed romantic relationship with Chief Marketing Officer Allison Gollust. Although he said he was resigning from the role, it is widely believed that Kilar was the primary force who drove him out.


CNN's top talent reportedly grilled Kilar about his decision-making at an internal meeting hours after Zucker's ouster. Zucker had fired Chris Cuomo for actions supporting his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during his sexual harassment scandal despite Chris Cuomo's standing as a journalist. Zucker's superiors at WarnerMedia reportedly became aware of his relationship with Gollust during the fallout from the Cuomo scandal.

“There are times in this role where decisions need to be made that may not be popular but are important to make. Being a leader is not a popularity contest,” Kilar told the Wall Street Journal about the internal anger he stoked at CNN.

CBS's Chris Licht was named as Zucker's replacement in late February.

During his tenure, Kilar oversaw the launch of the company's HBO Max streaming service and made the decision to release new movies in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously amid the coronavirus pandemic. Recently, CNN has launched a new streaming service, CNN+, but there have been reports that the company is bracing for layoffs due to grim forecasts for the new service.


Kilar has no plans for his next venture but stressed he will not "retire and sit on a beach."

Discovery CEO David Zaslav will head Warner Bros. Discovery once the merger is finished.