Warner Bros Discovery Taps Robert Gibbs, Former Obama White House Press Secretary, To Head Communications, Public Affairs – Update

UPDATED with official announcement: As Deadline reported overnight, Warner Bros Discovery has named Robert Gibbs Chief Communications Officer. He will also be the company’s Public Affairs Officer, a newly created dual role overseeing WBD’s corporate and business communications as well as public affairs.

He starts August 5, reporting to CEO David Zaslav.

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“At this transformative time in our industry, Robert is the right leader to assume this new, critical global role, as we continue to grow the Warner Bros. Discovery brand and presence around the world,” Zaslav said. “Robert is an insightful and respected leader with experience spanning Fortune 500 companies, the White House, and winning political campaigns. He will be an invaluable part of the team as we create the most captivating stories and content for consumers around the world. I am thrilled to welcome him to WBD.”

“I couldn’t be happier to join Warner Bros. Discovery and to help tell the incredible stories of so many iconic brands across entertainment, news and sports,” said Gibbs. “I’m particularly excited to work with the global team to fully and clearly capture WBD’s vision and communicate the meaningful growth potential in front of us. I am looking forward to getting started and being a part of this world-class organization.”

PREVIOUSLY: Warner Bros. Discovery’s search for a new comms chief is over, with the media giant expected to name Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary for former President Barack Obama, to the job, Deadline has learned.

The post has been open since January when former corporate communications boss Nathaniel Brown exited. He had been at Discovery since 2019 and was named to the top comms post when Discovery and Warner Media merged in 2022. Brown led global communications and media relations and served as the conglom’s lead spokesperson.

Gibbs was most recently a partner in marketing and communications firm Bully Pulpit International, and hosts the podcast Hacks on Tap with David Axelrod and Mike Murphy.

He was a top advisor to President Obama for nearly a decade. Starting as the Communications Director for then-Sen. Obama, he served in the same role for the 2008 campaign, as the first White House Press Secretary for the Obama Administration, and as a Senior Advisor on the 2012 re-election campaign. In 2013, he co-founded the Incite Agency, now a part of BPI.

Gibbs subsequently spent four and a half years at McDonald’s as EVP Corporate Relations and Global Chief Communications Officer, where he oversaw all corporate communications, public relations, internal and executive communications, global government relations, and public affairs work.

He joins WBD at a rather critical time for the company and the industry. Warner Bros Discovery’s stock is in the tank and debt still high amid a long post-merger restructuring. There appears to be a decent chance that TNT will lose the NBA. CEO David Zaslav is routinely called out for his large pay packages and occasional faux pas. Meanwhile, the traditional media and entertainment business is caught between the high cost of streaming and the decline of linear television.

It’s also a consolidating landscape so Gibbs’ Beltway expertise will be useful if and when WBD embarks on more M&A.

The Hollywood Reporter had the Gibbs news first.

Ted Johnson contributed to this report.

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