Dr. Gerhard “Gerry” Weber, who launched Warner Home Video in Germany in 1982 and later became one of the studio’s top home entertainment executives, died on Jan. 11, just three days after his 86th birthday. His cause of death was complications from Alzheimer’s.
Weber retired in 2002 as SVP and co-managing director of Europe, the Mideast and Africa, based in London. He shared this position with Ron Sanders, who later took charge of Warner Home Video on a worldwide basis and ultimately rose to president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Theatrical Distribution and president, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Weber is survived by his wife, Karin Müller-Weber; daughters Franziska and Anne-Tess; and son Lucas. A third daughter, Katrin, died in 2014.
Born in Stuttgart, Germany, on Jan. 8, 1936, Weber began his career in 1956 at Siemens, the big German industrial company. He later was project manager at business consultancy Baumgartner before shifting over to the entertainment industry in 1968 with his appointment as controller and CFO of Liberty/United Artists Records in Munich. Within three years, he had been promoted to managing director.
In 1972 Weber moved over to Metronom Music GmbH in Hamburg, a subsidiary of Polygram, as deputy managing director and then managing director. After three years as deputy managing director at Phonogram, another Polygram subsidiary, Weber in January 1982 joined WEA Music Gmbh, also in Hamburg, as managing director, marketing and sales, music and video. By the end of the year, he was managing director of the newly launched Warner Home Video operation in Germany.
Over the next 20 years, Weber held a series of progressively more responsible international positions at Warner Home Video. He served as chairman of the German trade association for the video industry, Bundesverband Audiovisuelle Medien e.V. (BVV), which represented the interests of German as well as international program suppliers. He also mentored Warner Bros. veteran Willi Geike, who spent 38 years in senior leadership roles and ultimately rose to president and managing director, Warner Bros. Germany, Austria, Switzerland (GAS) and Poland, a post he held until October 2020.
“Under his leadership, Gerry developed an incredible management team that helped run Warner Home Video Germany, one of the five major markets,” said Warren Lieberfarb, the Warner Home Video president hailed as the father of DVD. “He went on to hold a number of leadership positions throughout Europe, and what set him apart was his management style, proven leadership and thorough knowledge of the market, the product and the industry.”
After retiring, Weber served on the advisory board of a prominent Hamburg-based real estate fund.
Weber’s wife, Karin, recalls, “We loved to travel. We spent our holidays hiking or skiing in Switzerland, and many times visited London and Devon. Our last far-away trip was to Calgary to pick up Lucas in 2018 and doing a round trip through the Rocky Mountains. Gerry always took care of us. … He was a deeply caring husband and father.”