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Former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs hired to lead Warner Bros. Discovery PR

By David Goldman, CNN

(CNN) — Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary during the Obama administration, will be joining Warner Bros. Discovery to lead its communications team.

Gibbs, who has been leading public relations efforts in the private sector for years after leaving the White House, will take over public relations and public affairs at a time when the media industry is in turmoil. Warner Bros. Discovery’s stock (WBD) is at an all-time low, and the media industry is fighting to regain its footing as consumers rapidly change their behavior.

Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s parent company, has been occasionally buoyed by big box office wins like “Barbie” and its TNT sports division. But, like its competitors, Warner Bros. has largely struggled to persuade people to go to the movies this year. Television ratings and cable subscriptions continue to decline. And Warner Bros. Discovery is reportedly on the outside looking in as it tries to renew its lucrative – albeit expensive – NBA package.

It won’t be Gibbs’ job to fix the media industry woes that are challenging Warner Bros. Discovery and its competitors along with it. But the company has struggled to frame its strategy and narrative to its fans as it continues to cancel expensive programming, cut back on resources and slowly reboot the DC Entertainment brand.

“His incredible track record of advancing strong communications and public affairs strategies will make Robert an asset to WBD as we focus on nurturing our internal culture, deepening our connections to consumers and partners, and innovating across our businesses,” said CEO David Zaslav in a memo to staff.

Zaslav noted Gibbs’ successful track record positioning companies for success during times of transformation, which the embattled CEO said makes Gibbs “the perfect person to assume this role.”

Gibbs was former President Barack Obama’s communications director for both his 2004 Senate campaign and 2008 presidential campaign, before serving as his first White House press secretary. He was most recently a partner at the consultancy Bully Pulpit International. Before that, Gibbs served as McDonald’s chief communications officer.

He’ll replace Katie Martin Kelly and Laura Watson, who had been serving as interim communications directors for the company since January after Nathaniel Brown, the company’s former communications director, stepped down. Gibbs will start on August 5.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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