Plepler, whose departure was announced Thursday, oversaw TVs transition to direct-to-consumer streaming subscriptions. was one of the first traditional networks to make its programming available online to people who subscribed directly with its app, rather than requiring a regular pay-TV subscription.'s rise to dominate television awards ceremonies and audience ratings, most recently with blockbuster, critically praised hits like . He also spearheaded as one of the pioneers in
The announcement comes the same week a court decision lifted the final question marks holding back AT&T from exerting its full control over HBO.'s parent, Time Warner, more than two years ago in an $85 billion deal. But the Department of Justice took the companies to court, hoping to block the merger and, later, appealing to potentially unwind it. The US government Tuesday.
"Hard as it is to think about leaving the company I love, and the people I love in it, it is the right time for me to do so," Plepler said in a memo to employees.
John Stankey, a veteran AT&T executive who was appointed to lead WarnerMedia last year (becoming Plepler's boss), called him "one of the most successful executives in our industry."
"I have been fortunate to have his support over the last months," Stankey said in statement.