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January 19, 2021 |

TBI Vision

WarnerMedia’s HBO Max hires exec from Mid-East streamer Shahid to lead in Lat Am

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Luis Duran

WarnerMedia has hired another senior exec from the Middle East’s MBC Group to lead its streaming service HBO Max in Latin America.

Luis Duran will join the company in February as general manager of the SVOD in Lat Am, reporting into Johannes Larcher, who left MBC-owned streamer Shahid last year to become the head of HBO Max International.

Duran will be responsible for the roll-out and management of HBO Max across the region, with the service expected to launch later this year. His appointment follows the exits last week of HBO Latin America’s president of networks, Luis Peraza, and VP of original production, Roberto Rios, both of whom had been with the company for more than two decades.

Duran was most recently chief commercial officer for the digital unit at MBC Group, where he worked on streamer Shahid to oversee all revenue streams and led the marketing, distribution and analytics/support teams. Prior to that, Duran worked at Iflix, the streamer that was acquired by China’s Tencent last year.

Larcher said Duran would help build on HBO’s existing “stellar reputation” in the region for “premium programming”, adding that HBO Max “will build on that foundation to offer a broader selection of entertainment content that will appeal to the entire household.”

Johannes Larcher

Lat Am leadership laid out

Larcher has also unveiled his wider exec team for the region, with Jesus Rodriguez – previously general manager of HBO Networks Latin America – appointed to lead the content team. He has oversight of the editorial strategy for HBO Max Latin America.

Elsewhere, Dionne Bermudez, who has been with HBO Latin America for two decades, has been named as head of product and will work on the user experience; former Starz and Netflix exec Jose Calderoni becomes head of growth; and Dario Tonelli is head of data, insights & planning.

The HBO Max Lat Am team will also work closely with the wider WarnerMedia team in the region, including Whit Richardson, president of WarnerMedia Latin America, distribution head Jorge Carey, Tomás Yankelevich, chief content officer for general entertainment, General Entertainment; and Pablo Zuccarino, who heads up kids.

WarnerMedia said this “close collaboration” would deliver local original content and play into the overall HBO Max content strategy, delivering “a new and unparalleled content offering strengthening the entertainment experience with beloved local and global programming.”

The new team’s appointment marks the latest rejig outside of the US for WarnerMedia as it prepares to roll HBO Max out globally. The company has already instigated a raft of restructuring in Europe, which saw new-look teams installed in France, the Benelux and Germany, as well as the UK, while its EMEA kids operations was also affected, with Vanessa Brookman promoted and execs including Cecilia Persson among those leaving, as revealed by TBI.

AT&T-owned WarnerMedia, which launched HBO Max in the US last year, laid the groundwork for the Lat Am expansion last year by completing a deal to take full control of all HBO-branded services in the region.

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