CEO and head of HBO, Richard Plepler, leaves the company changing tide after a recent acquisition of HBO's parent company, Variety reported Thursday. His retirement will mark the end of an almost 30-year career with HBO, during which time the admired head of business spied and greenlit several of HBO's defining projects.
Variety reported that the news was shared with employees through an internal note where Plepler wrote that it was "the right time" for him to leave the company and added that it has been "a journey of great pride and achievement because many of you and many others before us have made HBO a cultural and business phenomenon. " The note continued:
It has been the great joy of my professional life to share this trip with you over these many years. And the great honor of my professional life being your CEO. I do not have the words to express my gratitude for the support and talent that made our success together. But it is enough to say, my love for this place, and for you all are deeply part of me and will be a life.
Plpler's achievements during the almost three decades of the company cannot be underestimated. Variety noted its influence in advancing such HBO power plants as Play Thrones and Veep . He also had a hand in the development of HBO Go and HBO Now.
AT & Ts's controversial merger with what was previously Time Warner, HBO's parent company, was secured last summer after the Ministry of Justice failed to prove that the deal would harm consumers. As Vanity Fair noted, news about Plplers retirement days comes after a federal appeal court approved the AT&T multibillion-dollar acquisition. Neither WarnerMedia, as it is now called, or HBO, immediately returned requests for comment.
The output also comes as AT & T prepares the launch of the new streaming service, which will be equipped with HBO. An HBO source told Vanity Fair that Plepler's departure is "bad news for AT&T, which will own the brand but not the talent." And it can put AT & T in a tough place as it braces to finish with almost any other streaming service that launches this year – and there are many, including one from Apple. So, it should be interesting.