Polly Cochrane is set to succeed Josh Berger as head of the U.K. and Ireland for WarnerMedia, Variety can reveal.
Cochrane, who marks 11 years with the studio this year, currently serves as executive vice president and group marketing director for Warner Bros. UK and Ireland, and chief marketing officer for Harry Potter global franchise development.
Sources tell Variety that Cochrane’s new title will be country manager for WarnerMedia, with oversight of the U.K. and Ireland. Noticeably, Berger also oversaw Spain, but a strategy for this market is believed to be still in process. Similarly, it’s unclear how the studio will handle continued leadership of the Harry Potter global franchise development.
Cochrane — like all WarnerMedia country managers — will report into Priya Dogra, the recently promoted president for WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Asia-Pacific.
Cochrane joined Warner Bros. in April 2009 as vice president and group marketing director for Warner Bros. U.K. She was previously director of marketing at Channel 4, where she was responsible for the broadcaster’s on and off-air marketing. She oversaw a new brand identity for Channel 4, as well as the launches of channels More4, Film4 free-to-air, Channel 4+1 and 4oD.
Prior to Channel 4, Cochrane was head of advertising and promotions for the launch of ViacomCBS-backed broadcaster Channel 5.
Berger’s departure is a major shake-up for Warner Bros.’ U.K. operations. The veteran executive leaves the studio after 31 years, during which time he played an instrumental role in the acquisition of Leavesden Studios, a £100 million investment that was the first studio of its kind to be built in the U.K. and was the first in the country to be owned and operated by a Hollywood studio.
Warner Bros. has said that Berger will leave the studio in December, but is to stay on as an advisor to senior management until mid-2021 for the “Harry Potter” franchise.
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