Q&A with Pascal Desroches: Investing in Turner's Future
June 7, 2017
“Our mission is to inform and entertain people across the globe”
After seven years as the global controller of Time Warner, Pascal Desroches was tapped by John Martin to serve as Turner’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2015.
In this role, Desroches leads corporate development, mergers and acquisitions as well as Turner’s financial operations and global technology, security and facilities divisions. Under his leadership, Turner has made investments in the video streaming company iStreamPlanet, content distribution platforms Great Big Story, Super Deluxe, and ELEAGUE. Additionally, Pascal has helped launch branded apps on connected devices, smart TVs and other consumer devices, and ramped up efforts in the podcast space to create strategic, 360-degree brand extension opportunities for Turner’s leading entertainment brands.
We talked with Pascal about his career, the future of the business and Turner.
Q. What has been the most significant change in Turner’s business since you joined in 2015?
The biggest change without a doubt has been the pace of change in the ways that people consume great content such as on their mobile devices and other non-linear methods. As a result, it is more important than ever that as an organization we innovate. Since its founding, our company has always led with bold and innovative programming that has transformed how people consume content. Today, we are continuing to reimagine television by putting our fans first, while using data and innovative technologies to inform our approach. It is in our nature to be innovators and game-changers. For example, we’re expanding beyond linear TV to new platforms like Sling, Hulu and DirecTV Now and we’ve launched our own new over-the-top services like Filmstruck and Boomerang, all to create more engaging experiences for our fans and ultimately, to continue to drive profits.
I consider innovation to be the most important contributor of success for Turner in the coming years. Earlier this year, we launched an international digital ventures and innovation division that will help us create new touchpoints with fans and identify growth opportunities for the company. As consumer behavior continues to change, I believe that this team will be integral to fueling innovation across Turner and help us deliver the best experiences for consumers.
Q. What is the role of innovation within your team?
The Global Technology & Operations (GTO) team, lead by CTO Jeremy Legg, is taking on the biggest technology transformation since Ted Turner founded the company, as we change our broadcast technology to an IP infrastructure. We are migrating our physical data centers, applications and content libraries to the public cloud and infusing data into both our technologies and decision making. The result of this transformation will be the ability to adapt to new business models—whether it’s direct-to-consumer, ad-supported, or transactional. Most importantly, we’ll strengthen our ability to create better experiences for our fans.
Q. Time Warner was recently named to Diversity Inc.’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity. What is the importance of diversity in the workplace to you at Turner?
Diversity is a very important topic to me, and I am personally committed to making sure that Turner is a company that reflects diversity and inclusion at every level. I’ve always believed that to whom much is given, much is required. We’re in the fan engagement business, and if we want to truly and deeply connect with our fans around the world, we have to be an authentic reflection of who they are - on and off the screen. That means we need a diversity of backgrounds and experience driving our strategic and creative process to succeed. I work very closely with our Human Resources, Recruiting and People Development divisions as well as Turner’s Black Professionals and Turner Women Today Resource Groups to recruit employees and invest in our industry’s next generation of leaders.
Q. As someone who is heavily involved in the proposed merger with AT&T, can you share any insights?
Throughout my career I have seen many mergers, and I am confident that this merger will be a win-win for Time Warner and AT&T. The merger will allow us to combine our brands and businesses with AT&T’s distribution to create more value for fans, distributors, content creators and advertisers. The combined company will be very strong financially, with a large, diverse and growing base of revenues, enormous earnings base, and strong free cash flow generation.
Q. What excites you most about your job?
I am really grateful to have the opportunity to work with some really talented people. I really enjoy working for a company whose mission I believe in. At Turner, our mission is to inform and entertain people across the globe. We are able to bring people together, and meet them wherever they are - I absolutely love that!
Q. We have to ask, what are your favorite Turner shows?
That’s not an easy question! It’s like asking me who is my favorite child. I love them all. But if I have to name a few, then I would have to say Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Detour, Animal Kingdom and one of our newest shows on TNT, Claws.