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Kevin Tsujihara has been named successor to Barry Meyer as CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment. He will step into the job March 1, and Meyer will remain as chairman through 2013.
Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes and current Warners chairman and CEO Meyer made the announcement Monday morning, bringing an end to a succession question that has been lingering over the studio.
During the next several months, they said, Meyer and Tsujihara will work together with other members of Warner Bros. senior executive team, including Warner Bros. Television president Bruce Rosenblum and Warner Bros. Pictures president Jeff Robinov, to ensure an orderly transition. Rosenblum and Robinov also had been considered as candidates for the top post.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed; who wouldn’t be?” Rosenblum said in a statement. “Warner Bros. is a unique and special place, and I know it will be in good hands with Kevin at the helm. I continue to be proud of our accomplishments, and I have the most respect and admiration for our amazing team at the studio — a team that is thriving in an ever-transforming business.”
Robinov said in a statement: “I am truly happy and proud of Kevin. We are both good friends and colleagues and I think he’s an excellent choice for the job. The company will be in great shape under his leadership.”
As president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group since 2005, Tsujihara, 48, currently oversees the company’s home video, digital distribution, video games, anti-piracy and emerging technology operations.
He joined Warner Bros. in 1994 as director of special projects, finance, to assist in the management of the company’s interest in Six Flags. Across his nearly two decades with the company, he has served as executive vp corporate business development & strategy at Warner Bros. Entertainment and executive vp new media, responsible for the oversight of all Warner Bros.’ new-media endeavors.
In making the announcement, Bewkes said: “Kevin is one of the most effective and respected executives within Time Warner and the right leader to ensure Warner Bros.’ pre-eminence into the future. He brings the perfect combination of strategic thinking, financial discipline, digital vision and management style to build on Warner Bros.’ track record of success under Barry Meyer.”
Said Meyer: “In working with Kevin for nearly 20 years, I’ve come to know and value a talented executive with a passion for this company and its people. He has skillfully guided one of the most complex businesses at Warner Bros. during a time of transition in the home entertainment sector and has a deep appreciation and respect for the films and TV shows we create. Kevin has a rare combination of extraordinary business acumen and a love for the art of storytelling, and I’m confident he will be a great leader for Warner Bros.”
Said Tsujihara: “It is an honor to have the opportunity to lead this storied business. We’re at a pivotal moment in the histories of Hollywood and entertainment: Technology is changing the canvas we use to create theatrical releases, home entertainment is rapidly evolving, and the definition of television now includes viewing across a wide range of devices and services. But in my mind, one thing remains clear and constant: Warner Bros.’ unmatched ability to tell stories that inspire, educate and entertain global audiences. We are extremely fortunate to have strong relationships with some of the industry’s most gifted talent, and together we will continue to use those relationships, our scale and our passion to build on Warner Bros. great legacy.”
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