Jordan Levin Named GM of WarnerMedia's Rooster Teeth

Matt Hullum and Jordan Levin - Publicity - Split - H 2019
Courtesy of Rooster Teeth

Co-founder Matt Hullum will step into the newly created role of chief content officer as part of the transition.

Media company Rooster Teeth is making some changes to its executive ranks, bringing in media veteran Jordan Levin to run the company as general manager as its founders shift to new roles.  

In naming Levin, who most recently served as CEO of Awesomeness, to the role, Rooster Teeth is doing away with the CEO position previously held by co-founder Matt Hullum, who will serve in the newly created role of chief content officer overseeing creative and content operations, including Rooster Teeth Studios.  

Rooster Teeth's other co-founders also are moving into new roles, it was announced Tuesday during a company all-hands meeting. Geoff Ramsey will become executive creative director, leading creative direction for all of Rooster Teeth's direct-to-consumer efforts, and Burnie Burns will shift from chief creative officer to executive producer, a role that will allow him to develop and produce projects across the company. 

The changes come amid shifts at owner Otter Media, which was folded into WarnerMedia's entertainment group in May. 

"Today's announcements are a reflection of our commitment and confidence in Rooster Teeth and its value inside the WarnerMedia portfolio," Otter CEO Tony Goncalves said in a statement. "With Jordan at the helm, the founders are enabled to focus on the creative pipeline and expand on the market-leading franchises Rooster Teeth is known for. Jordan's extensive experience in building an operating content business in both the traditional and digital media space, uniquely positions him to lead Rooster Teeth while they enter a new growth phase in their business. We look forward to the future and Levin’s leadership."

Austin, Texas-based Rooster Teeth launched 16 years ago with the web series Red vs. Blue, which is still running today. As the company has expanded, it has developed into a media brand for fans of video games and genre storytelling. Today, its portfolio also includes the anime series RWBY and the animated program Gen:LOCK starring Michael B. Jordan. Rooster Teeth, which has 45 million YouTube subscribers, also produces podcasts and runs a membership program that has grown to 3 million people. 

In 2014, Rooster Teeth sold to Fullscreen, a multichannel network that a few months earlier had sold a majority stake to AT&T and the Chernin Group's joint venture, Otter Media. AT&T bought out TCG's stake in Otter, which also owns the Crunchyroll and Ellation brands, in 2018 following its acquisition of Time Warner (since renamed WarnerMedia). WarnerMedia absorbed Otter earlier this year and, on Sept. 12, Rooster Teeth laid off 13 percent of its staff as part of what Hullum described as a "moment of organizational change." 

With Levin's appointment, Rooster Teeth is implementing more of those changes and promoting several employees to lead new teams. Luis Medina will now serve as senior vp partnerships and strategy; Doreen Copeland will be a vp and head of production operations; and Barbara Dunkelman will become creative director of Rooster Teeth's Direct comedic programming. 

"Leading Rooster Teeth has been one of the greatest privileges of my life," Hullum said Tuesday in a statement. "Despite an ever-changing industry and an ongoing series of acquisitions and integrations, we managed to grow the company to more than ten times the size it was when I began as CEO just over seven years ago. It's been an incredible ride, and now I'm beyond excited to be returning to the creative work that inspired me to want to co-found Rooster Teeth in the first place. As we look to our future, I am excited to take our content to the next level, and I am confident that Jordan will lead us to heights that we never dreamed possible."

Levin — who will report to Tom Pickett, CEO of Otter's consumer brands — will bring decades of media and entertainment experience to the role, having most recently served as CEO of Awesomeness and orchestrating its sale to Viacom. His digital experience also extends to past roles as general manager of Xbox Entertainment Studios and Generate, which he sold to Alloy Digital in 2011. He also served as chief content officer at the NFL. 

Levin began his career at Disney and was later part of the founding executive team at The WB, where he oversaw a slate of programming that included Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek, Felicity and Smallville, and later was promoted to CEO of the network. 

"Over the past 16 years, Matt, Burnie, Geoff and Gus [Sorola] have built a world class entertainment company amidst a turbulent marketplace engaging a fervent community of fans through a diverse portfolio of successful, entrepreneurial businesses," said Levin. "I'm fortunate to have gotten to know them over the years and thrilled for the opportunity to join them going forward to lead this unique media brand with the full support of my friends at WarnerMedia. I'm grateful to be returning to both Austin, which has been my family’s second home, as well as the WarnerMedia family, to realize Rooster Teeth’s ambitions of producing more content in more places to reach and expand its community wherever they are and will be."