Gunnar Is Gunning For Your Job
The Warner Bros. Discovery finance chief is one of the most respected CFOs on Wall Street. He's going to be merciless is slashing $3 billion from Warner Bros. Discovery's budget
Gunnar Wiedenfels has been unleashed.
The Warner Bros. Discovery chief financial officer may very well be the most important non-chief executive officer in Hollywood right now. And WBD CEO David Zaslav has dispatched him on a mission to help pitch the entertainment conglomerate’s recovery plan amid a crippled stock that’s seen $20 billion of value wiped away since Discovery bought WarnerMedia for $43 billion in April.
Wiedenfels has passionately pleaded the company’s case to investors at two of the industry’s most watched conferences — the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology event held in San Francisco on Tuesday and last week’s Bank of America Securities Media, Entertainment and Communication confab held in Los Angeles. And, by most accounts, he appears to have wowed Wall Street.
“Gunnar is probably one of the best CFOs that I’ve seen in my career, he’s very detail oriented, he does the work, takes the time and goes over all the details,” Bank of America media analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich said. “He gets in there and rolls up his sleeves.”
Only problem is, while the analyst community loves Wiedenfels, investors just ain’t buying what he’s selling so far. Shares of Warner Bros. Discovery are down 50% year to date, closing at $12.71 on Wednesday, and even dropped after his appearance at the Goldman conference.
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WBD’s stock price has been among the market’s biggest disappointments, with analysts dismayed that shares haven’t been able to gain traction and meet projections of $40. The stock hasn’t crossed $25 since it opened for trading on April 4, and most recently has struggled to even surpass $13.