HBO Global Distribution President Steps Down

Simon Sutton has been with the premium cable network since 2005 and becomes the latest longtime exec to depart as new corporate parent AT&T will bundle HBO with other Turner stations.
Courtesy of HBO
Simon Sutton

Another longtime HBO executive is departing the premium cable network following its transfer to new corporate parent AT&T/WarnerMedia.

Global distribution president and chief revenue officer Simon Sutton, who joined the pay cabler in 2005, has opted to step down from the position that he has held since July 2016.

Sources say the decision came after WarnerMedia's March 4 decision to elevate Gerhard Zeiler from Turner International president to chief revenue officer. The two execs served in similar roles between Turner and HBO, both of which are now owned by WarnerMedia. With the new structure, the positions became redundant.

The news arrives days after global distribution president Bernadette Aulestia resigned from HBO following a 22-year run with the cabler behind Game of Thrones and Westworld.

Aulestia and Sutton's decision to leave comes as AT&T plans to bundle HBO with its other new assets, Turner's basic cable networks TNT, TBS and TruTV, in one main package for its upcoming WarnerMedia streaming platform, among other offerings.

Sutton becomes the latest senior leader to exit the company following AT&T's $85 billion deal to acquire Time Warner. He follows HBO CEO Richard Plepler, who departed last month when former NBC Entertainment president Bob Greenblatt was tapped for a senior position reporting to AT&T CEO John Stankey and overseeing entertainment brands including HBO, TNT and TBS, among others. Warner Bros. chief Kevin Tsujihara also was pushed out after a Hollywood Reporter feature detailed allegations of sexual misconduct by the exec.

Sutton was responsible for HBO's domestic and international revenues, which totaled more than $5 billion a year and included domestic network distribution, international channels and the distribution of HBO programming to third parties worldwide.

During his long HBO career, Sutton held a number of positions including president of HBO international and content distribution. Before coming to HBO, he was executive vp international TV at MGM.

HBO has been offering veteran employees early retirement packages as WarnerMedia looks for efficiencies to help reduce operating costs.

Gerry Smith was the first to report the news.