Richard Plepler joined HBO in 1992 and became the CEO of the company in 2013. He started at Time Warner, HBO’s parent company. Plepler’s notable character contributed a lot in HBO’s success. He is largely credited with helping the network maintain both its prestige television quality while adjusting its strategy towards its movie streaming competitors.
Plepler told John Stankey, WarnerMedia CEO, about his plans on leaving the giant network. On Thursday, he finally announced his resignation after almost three decades of service.
Plepler said in his memo that it is hard to think about leaving the company he loves, and people he love in it, but it is the right time for him to do so. In the past weeks, he said that he thought a lot about the incredible journey of HBO in the nearly 28 years that he has been blessed to be in the company.
AT&T had acquired Time Warner earlier this year. The acquisition was reportedly prompted a conflict between the two companies. Plepler’s departure, according to people familiar with the matter, is an issue of autonomy wherein Plepler wanted to run HBO, but then, Stankey is running HBO effectively as well.
Stankey, who became the chief executive of Warner Media last year, said that Richard is one of the most successful executives in their industry and he has been fortunate to have his support over the last months.
Plepler’s vision, energy and passion helped to elevate HBO’s brand to what it has become today. Richard’s impact on their business and on the passionate viewers of HBO’s enduring programming will continue to be felt, Stankey further added.
Plepler’s exit is a crucial time for AT&T as the company is on the verge of competing against streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu, as well as media giants Disney and Comcast. Warner Media plans to launch a streaming service of its own.
Plepler hasn’t decided where he will go next. He is expected to stay at HBO for at least two more weeks.
He also expresses his gratitude through his memo saying, “Thanks to all of you, we are today churning on all cylinders both creatively and as a business. Thanks to all of you, I can move on to the next chapter of my life knowing that the best team in the industry remains here to carry on our continued progress and success. As I have said before, this is the team of teams.”