Fox Shake-Up: International Chiefs Upped to Run Worldwide Marketing
In a dramatic realignment at 20th Century Fox, longtime international presidents Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus are being put in charge of the film studio's worldwide marketing and distribution efforts, reflecting the global nature of the movie business.
As part of the shake-up, 20th Century Fox Film chairman/CEO Jim Gianopulos informed Oren Aviv late Wednesday that he was out as chief marketing officer. Aviv, who shared the top post with chief creative officer Tony Sella, joined Fox in early 2011.
"Our industry is more global than ever before," said Gianopulos, to whom Jegeus and Hanneman will report. "Paul and Tomas have proven success in the global arena, having run the industry's most successful international operations, and coupled with our excellent domestic team, they will reshape our worldwide marketing and distribution strategies for the future."
Fox staff was informed Thursday morning of the changes.
Fox's domestic marketing division has struggled in recent times, suffering a string of misses at the box office. Conversely, Hanneman and Jegeus run one of Hollywood's most successful international operations (last year, foreign revenues clocked in well north of $2 billion, while domestic grosses topped out at $1 billion).
Gianopulos himself rose up through the international side of the film business, and has worked closely with Jegeus and Hanneman through the years.
Fox isn't the first major studio to pluck from its international ranks. Warner Bros. president of worldwide marketing Sue Kroll headed up international marketing for years before being put in charge of domestic theatrical marketing. And Warner International's president of distribution Veronika Kwan Vandenberg is poised to expand her duties and run worldwide distribution once Dan Fellman retires.
Aviv's ouster comes one year after Tom Rothman exited as co-chairman of Fox, leaving Gianopulos in sole charge of the studio. Gianopulos was reluctant to make any abrupt changes but has nonetheless been evaluating the landscape, according to insiders.
Aviv is the latest in a string of marketing heads to be let go after DreamWorks Animation's Anne Globe (DWA has a distribution deal with Fox), Relativity Media's Terry Curtin and Sony's Marc Weinstock.
Fox said Aviv is leaving the company to pursue other endeavors that he will announce shortly.
"We want to thank Oren for his contributions to the studio over the past three years," said Gianopulos. "He is a class act, who contributed greatly to the studio's success while here, including his work on such films as Prometheus and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. We look forward to working with him in different capacities down the road."
Hanneman and Jegeus have served as co-presidents of 20th Century Fox International since September of 2005, guiding the release of the biggest films of all time internationally, Titanic and Avatar, as well as the two most successful animated films of all time internationally, Ice Age: Continental Drift and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
This year, Fox is on target to cross $2 billion in international box-office grosses for the seventh time, an industry record, as well as for the fifth year in a row, also a record.
"We are so thrilled to have the opportunity to work more closely with the terrific domestic marketing team," said Hanneman and Jegeus. "Tony Sella (chief creative officer) is one of the most talented creative marketers in our industry and we are fortunate to have his exceptional mind on board to help realize our vision for the future. Chris Aronson (domestic distribution president) has done such a stellar job overseeing domestic distribution, and with many of our exhibition partners expanding globally, he will continue be an enormous asset going forward."
Jegeus began his career at Fox in 1990 as marketing director for the U.K. office, while Hanneman joined the studio in 1990, becoming managing director of Korea operations.