Griffin promotes pair of execs


Merv Griffin, chairman and founder of the Griffin Group of Cos., has promoted executive vp Ron Ward to the newly created position of vice chairman and upped vp/general counsel Robert Pritchard to president.

The restructuring, announced Friday, follows the retirement of Griffin Group president and CEO Lawrence Cohen, who will continue to serve as a consultant to the companies throughout 2007 while pursuing his own initiatives.

In his new role as vice chairman, Ward will continue to work with Griffin in establishing the strategy and focus of all the companies, whose activities range from the production of TV programming and theatrical films to horse-racing, residential real estate and hotels. Ward oversees Merv Griffin Entertainment, heads up the thoroughbred operation Merv Griffin Ranch Co. and was responsible for forming Griffin's newest company, Worldwide Lp., which focuses on high-end residential real estate.

"Ron has been with me for 25 years," Griffin said. "Not only is he a brilliant facilitator of our established projects, but he also has a remarkable aptitude for spotting new areas of profitability."

Pritchard joined the Griffin Group in 2000 after five years with the Manhattan office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. As vp/general counsel at the Griffin Group, Pritchard has handled all business and legal affairs for the umbrella operation and has been an integral part of the workings of each company.

"I have always been impressed with Rob's integrity, work ethic, and abilities to translate my visions for the companies into practice," Griffin said. "He will continue to work with me on strategic initiatives and will hold day-to-day responsibility for the companies and their operations."

The privately held Griffin Group of Co., headquartered in Beverly Hills, was formed in 1986 after the sale of Merv Griffin Enterprises to Coca-Cola.