Warner Bros. Names Exec Leadership Team in Wake of Kevin Tsujihara's Exit

Getty Images (2); Courtesy of Warner Bros.
From left: Toby Emmerich, Peter Roth, Kim Williams

As WarnerMedia's John Stankey searches for a new studio chief, he has put studio execs Toby Emmerich, Peter Roth and Kim Williams in charge.

Right on the heels of Kevin Tsujihara’s Monday exit as Warner Bros. chairman and CEO, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey has moved quickly to appoint an interim team to oversee the studio until a permanent replacement is found for Tsujihara, He formally announced the formation of the new team to the Warners staff on Tuesday afternoon. 

Toby Emmerich, who oversees the studio’s movie operations as Warner Bros. motion picture group chairman, and Peter Roth, who supervises TV as Warner Bros. television group president and CCO, have been tapped, along Warner Bros. Entertainment executive vp and CFO Kim Williams, all of whom will report to Stankey.

In the memo addressed to "WarnerMedia Colleagues," Stankey explained, "We are doing this to ensure minimal disruption to the day-to-day operations of the studio and to provide the time we need to conduct a thorough search to find the best candidate to lead this incredible and storied business to its next chapter of growth and success."

Stankey went on to say that Emmerich will oversee the theatrical business, home entertainment and games; Roth will coordinate all television production as well as the new kids and young adults group; and Williams will watch over all other areas, including Otter Media.

Emmerich, who began his career at New Line, was promoted to Warners president in 2016 and has been chairman of the motion picture group, overseeing production, marketing and distribution since early 2018. Roth — who spent 10 years at ABC before joining Fox, where he was eventually named president, Fox Entertainment in 1996  — has been at Warners since 1999 and was promoted to head of the TV group in 2013. Williams was named to her current post in 2015, after stints with the CORE Media Group and NFL Network.

In opting to entrust the studio to a trio of execs, Stankey adopted a strategy Warners has used before. When Jeff Robinov departed as studio chief in 2013, Tsujihara created an operating triumvirate that included Emmerich, then running New Line; then-Warners production exec Greg Silverman; and then-marketing exec Sue Kroll.

It remains to be seen how quickly Stankey can find a candidate to replace Tsujihara, whose departure came in the wake of a March 6 Hollywood Reporter article on his relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk and his alleged efforts to secure her work in Warner Bros. films and TV shows. Warners said it is continuing its investigation into the matter.

In addition to overseeing the studio’s film and TV businesses, Tsujihara was entrusted with further responsibilities just over two weeks ago as part of Stankey’s reorganization of WarnerMedia. The exec, who also oversaw games, digital distribution and new media, was put in charge of a new kids and young adults business that includes Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang. Digital content creator Otter Media, Turner Classic Movies and licensed consumer products development for all WarnerMedia properties were also added to his portfolio.

The text of Stankey's memo follows:

I've asked three members of the existing Warner Bros. executive team to lead the organization on an interim basis until a new Chairman and CEO is named. We are doing this to ensure minimal disruption to the day-to-day operations of the studio and to provide the time we need to conduct a thorough search to find the best candidate to lead this incredible and storied business to its next chapter of growth and success. Our creative and business partners deserve this. Our company – and you – deserve no less.

The executives who have graciously come together to help me manage this business on an interim basis are: Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group; Peter Roth, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Television Group; andKim Williams, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment.

We all recognize that operating day-to-day in this manner will be a little different from the normal course of business, but the four of us agree that we need to remain focused and steer clear of any counterproductive speculation around what this temporary leadership group portends for the future. Toby, Peter and Kim will keep us focused squarely on achieving our goals and staying on track with our ambitious plans for Warner Bros. this year.

I will work closely with the three of them during this period to help make sure issues are quickly addressed and operations continue to progress in the normal course of business. Toby, Peter and Kim will be responsible for bringing forward any matters that require broader deliberation and a more integrated review – those outside of the normal decision-making process within our skillfully led teams in each department. 

To help with this and minimize organization disruption, Toby, Peter and Kim will coordinate groups of their peers functioning as a team. Toby will handle matters around theatrical, home entertainment and games; Peter will coordinate all television production interests and do the same with the Kids and Young Adults group; and Kim will coordinate with all of the other areas, including Otter Media. 

I have committed to moving quickly as we conduct a thorough and thoughtful search for a new Chairman and CEO to lead Warner Bros. This is an organization that has many talented individuals already operating successfully as a team. My priority is to install leadership that sustains the direction and priorities of the organization – not dramatically change course.

It goes without saying that our ability to tap into leaders of the caliber of Toby, Peter and Kim to continue our momentum without missing a beat is a testament to the talent we have across all of our companies. It also underscores the values, team orientation and spirit of collaboration that each of these executives exemplifies, and I thank them all for stepping up and leading by example. 

Let's continue working together to build an environment that informs and inspires audiences everywhere.