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It was a surprise when Michael Joe left Universal just a year ago to join Relativity Media as President. Now in another surprise Joe is leaving Relativity to join Elliott Management Corporation, the New York based hedge fund that is Relativity’s biggest financial backer. He will remain in Los Angeles.
Joe is being replaced as President by Steve Bertram, who is currently COO and CFO of Relativity. Bertram will retain his job as CFO as well. Bertram will supervise the company’s operations worldwide, and retain oversight of banking relationships and corporate finance responsibilities.
Brian Edwards, who was COO and General Counsel of Mark Burnett Productions, has joined Relativity as the new COO. Both Bertram and Edwards will report to Relativity founder and CEO Ryan Kavanaugh.
At Elliott, Joe will help oversee the fund’s entertainment assets, working closely with Relativity, according to the announcement, “to optimize the Elliott-Relativity partnership.”
“We had identified the need for this role at Elliott,” said Jesse Cohn, Portfolio Manager at Elliott, “and we are fortunate to fill it with someone with Michael’s credentials, valuable experience at Relativity and Universal, and a close pre-existing working relationship with our team.”
“This move, coupled with Bertram and Edwards’ expertise and experience, creates a dynamic platform,” says Kavanaugh. “Given Relativity’s future plans, and given Steve and Brian’s close involvement with the DreamWorks Animation IPO and their guiding of the sale of DreamWorks LLC to Viacom, there is no better management team I could imagine.”
Edwards will manage business affairs, legal and business administration, working Bertram managing day-to-day activities across all divisions.
At Mark Burnett Productions, Edwards led the negotiations for a joint venture with Hearst Corporation and worked on Survivor, The Apprentice, The Voice and other shows. Previously, Edwards was a partner in Overnight Productions, following an eight-year executive role at DreamWorks, where he rose through the ranks as General Counsel and COO. Prior to DreamWorks, he was a partner at law firm, Greenberg Glusker.
“Relativity is doing things no other studio in town is doing, and they have proven to be the innovator and to be the leader of needed change within our industry,” says Edwards.
Joe had been at Universal for 15 years before jumping to Relativity in May 2010. He had been Universal’s chief strategy officer and was involved in business development and strategic planning. He also directed digital initiatives and represented Universal on MPAA matters. He helped set up Relativity’s movie co financing deal with Universal in 2008 which began his relationship with Kavanaugh.
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