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What’s it like to work for a demanding entertainment executive? Film and television production company New Regency’s Arnon Milchan provides a telling example of his management style in an email sent recently to his entire staff.
In a late-night screed written in December–and cc’ed to top Fox brass including president and COO Chase Carey and entertainment co-chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman–Milchan exhorted his staff to justify their value to him and his company.
“I’d like to know … the 3-5 best connections you have in the movie industry, that can move the needle and create added value beyond what Fox does,” he wrote in the memo, adding, “I’d like to be assured that if I don’t sleep, you don’t sleep.” Milchan noted that he was writing the email at 2 a.m., part of his “regular working hours.” And he warned that the email was “not pep talk–this is serious.”
In September, Milchan dismissed New Regency co-chairmen Bob Harper and Hutch Parker and installed former Paramount president of production Brad Weston in the top job. But Milchan did not give Weston the title of chairman, having decided to perform that function himself.
Milchan expressed anxiety about a looming global financial crisis and said he did not want to see the “great company” that he’s built “evaporate.”
Here’s the full email:
From: Arnon Milchan
Subject: New Regency
I’ve committed $300M in fees which translates to $5 billon in movies and TV over the next 10 years, which forces me to have sleepless nights. I’d like to know what the 3-5 best connections you have in the movie industry, that can move the needle and create added value beyond what Fox does. I’d like to be reassured that if I don’t sleep, you don’t sleep. I can afford not to – you cannot. I’m contemplating a major decision, and before I do that, I need your feedback.
As a reminder, the world is heading into a huge financial crisis. I have only one request – be honest. I expect caring, pro-activity, creativity and thinking outside the box with tangible results. We’re not here to continue the old regime creatively, but to create a new world. If this is not within your reach, please be honest with me. I’ve done it for the last 35 years and built a great company – I do not feel I deserve to have it evaporate. I need a timeline for Regency to become the home of great TV and movie makers.
I expect you to improve on a conscious basis with our friends at NewsCorp and Fox. They’re our friends. I need accountability and responsibility. Anything less doesn’t work for me. This is not pep talk – this is serious. I’m just now finishing my day job at 2am, which are my regular working hours because of the time difference. I expect resolutions by the end of next week.
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