Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO of Warner Bros., brings more than thirty years of diversified business and media experience to the role of overseeing worldwide operations at Warner Bros. including the production, marketing and distribution of film, television and interactive entertainment.
Warner Bros., a WarnerMedia company, is a global leader in every type of entertainment and their related businesses, across all current and emerging media and platforms. Warner Bros. is the only studio with leading positions in film, television and videogames, as well as highly successful home entertainment and consumer products divisions, with Warner Bros. having responsibility for all of WarnerMedia’s consumer products activities. The Studio is also home to DC, creator of the world’s most popular and valuable superheroes, which generate billions in revenue. In March 2019, WarnerMedia reorganized its divisional businesses and moved Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim and TCM (Turner Classic Movies) under Warner Bros., with a mandate to grow robust businesses focused on kids, animation and young adults/millennials.
Prior to joining Warner Bros., Ann was President, BBC Studios Americas, where she was responsible for driving growth and profit across the company’s diversified business divisions in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. She oversaw linear and digital program sales and co-productions, home entertainment, and licensing. She also led efforts to amplify BBC Studios’ global brands Doctor Who, Top Gear, and the natural history brand BBC Earth. Sarnoff served as Board Chair of BritBox – the BBC Studios and ITV owned SVOD service with the largest collection of British television in the U.S.
From 2016-2018 alongside her role as President, BBC Worldwide Americas (now known as BBC Studios), Sarnoff also served as head of BBC Worldwide’s Global Production Network, charged with developing the strategy for and optimizing the company’s global production operations. From 2010, when she joined the company, to 2015, Sarnoff was COO, BBC Worldwide North America, where she was responsible for most major revenue streams for the company and led cross-business franchise development for global brands, resulting in significant revenue gains. Sarnoff oversaw negotiations around major MVPD deals for BBC AMERICA, leading to an increase in distribution from 68m subscribers to 80m; grew digital program sales to where they exceeded linear program sales; built sales of Doctor Who merchandise to over $100m at retail; spearheaded the BBC.com features section strategy; and launched the first-ever conference for BBC.com – “BBC Future: World-Changing Ideas Summit.”
Prior to joining BBC Worldwide, Sarnoff was President of Dow Jones Ventures and Senior Vice President of Strategy. In this role, she was responsible for leveraging the assets of Dow Jones to create new businesses focusing on digital and B-to-C markets, and for overseeing corporate strategy and business development. Sarnoff oversaw the creation of The Wall Street Journal executive conference business, launching a number of new conference franchises including The Wall Street Journal CEO Council, a prestigious gathering of 100+ top CEOs from around the globe, ECO:nomics, the leading conference for executives in the clean-tech space, and Viewpoints West, an executive breakfast series based in Silicon Valley; and overseeing the D: All Things Digital conference. Sarnoff launched FINS.com, a career and jobs site targeted at financial professionals, which later broadened to cover tech, sales, and marketing professionals. FINS.com became the backbone of the WSJ.com Careers site and was subsequently sold to eFinancialCareers. She also chaired the board of FiLife.com, a personal finance joint venture with IAC.
Prior to Dow Jones, Sarnoff was COO for the Women’s National Basketball Association, where she was recruited by and sat on the executive team of NBA Commissioner David Stern. In addition to running the league’s business operations and overseeing player personnel and programs, Sarnoff redefined the WNBA brand, secured new sponsorships, and instituted innovative marketing campaigns for the league.
From 1993-2003, Sarnoff worked with some of the best-known brands in television at Viacom. As Nickelodeon’s Executive Vice President for Consumer Products and Business Development, she built Nickelodeon consumer products into a multi-billion dollar revenue business at retail. In this role, Sarnoff developed Rugrats and Blue’s Clues into successful off-air franchises by launching them into toys, apparel, publishing, home video, video games, live events, and themed attractions. She also led the teams that developed new cable channels TV Land and Noggin. Subsequently, she became COO for VH1 and CMT where, in addition to strategic planning and business operations, she oversaw the company’s websites, radio, audio and video products, and launched the channel VH1 Classic.
Sarnoff holds a BS from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She sits on the boards of PayPal Holdings, Inc. and Georgetown University, and is the vice chair of the advisory board of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown. She also serves on the advisory board of British American Business and the Digital Task Force for New York Public Radio. Sarnoff has been named one of the Most Powerful Women in Cable by CableFAX Magazine for six straight years.