Richard Nanula Takes Leave of Absence From Colony, Miramax
UPDATED: The former CFO of Disney, who led the acquisition of Miramax, is said to have taken his leave for "personal reasons" after photos purporting to be of him and a porn star appeared online.
Richard Nanula has taken a leave of absence from his positions as chairman of Miramax and as a partner in Colony Capital.
A spokeswoman for Colony confirmed he has taken time off but would only say it is for “personal reasons.” There was no further explanation for why he has left, when he might return or who is taking over his roles at Colony and Miramax.
The move comes nearly two weeks after compromising photos purporting to be of Nanula and a porn star appeared online at the website TheDirty.com. The photos have since been taken down but have remained on a website called Porn News Today.
Nanula is a former senior executive vp and chief financial officer at the Walt Disney Co. He joined Colony Capital in January 2008 and led the negotiations that resulted in the acquisition of Miramax from Disney in a transaction valued at $663 million.
Nanula’s reported involvement with a porn star comes three months after Scott Sassa had to resign as president of Hearst’s Entertainment and Syndication group. A stripper tried to blackmail Sassa over sexy texts and photos they had exchanged and when he refused to pay, her boyfriend forward copies of the sexting to his bosses at Hearst, a public company known for its conservative environment.
In the case of Nanula, Colony Capital and Miramax are not public companies. However Colony is a big investor in real estate and other businesses and in turn has investors who are very conservative. One of their largest investors in Colony and the biggest investor in Miramax is Qatar Holding, which is owned by the government of the very conservative Muslim country.
In May, Sassa got a new job as vice chairman of the El Rey Network, a fledgling general entertainment cable channel aimed at young adult Latinos.
At Disney between 1986 and 1998, Nanula also served as president of Disney Stores Worldwide.
The deal for Miramax was completed after a heated bidding war in 2010. Nanula led the negotiations for Colony Capital, which was an investor along with Ronald Tutor of Tutor-Saliba Corp. and the Qatar Investment Authority. David Bergstein, a former business associate of Tutor, later sued, claiming he had a fee coming for brokering the deal, and reached an out-of-court settlement.
Until recently, the new Miramax has not entered production on its own but rather has focused on licensing the library titles both for ancillary markets and for digital distribution around the world. However in late March, Miramax announced it is working with Martin Scorsese and GK Films to adapt the 2002 movie Gangs Of New York as a TV series; and on June 10, it said it is working to develop an untitled comedy for the big screen witih Screen Gems to star Kevin Hart and Josh Gad.
Tutor sold his interest in Miramax in January 2013.
Nanula has been serving as chairman. Mike Lang had been CEO of Miramax but he left in March 2012 and was replaced on an interim basis by chief financial officer Steve Schoch. A new permanent CEO has not been announced.
Nanula also was executive vp and chief financial officer of Amgen for six years beginning in 2001. Before that he was chairman and CEO of Broadband Sports, an Internet media company.
Nanula also spent two years as President and chief operations officer of Starwood Hotels and Resort.
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