Warner Bros.' U.K., Ireland, Spain and 'Harry Potter' Chief Josh Berger Departing Studio

Amanda Nevill, Josh Berger - Getty - H 2016
Credit: Getty, Dave Benett

The hugely respected industry veteran has decided to step down after more than 30 years in senior leadership roles.

Josh Berger, president and managing director for Warner Bros.' operations in the U.K., Ireland and Spain and president of its Harry Potter Global Franchise Development, is stepping down from the company after more than 30 years in senior leadership roles.

A hugely well-respected figure in industry, who recently served as chair of the British Film Institute, Berger will step down in December, but remain as an advisor to senior management until the middle of 2021 for the Harry Potter franchise as an executive producer on the third installment of the Fantastic Beasts film series and upcoming BBC documentary Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History, among other projects.

Berger began his Warner Bros. career in 1986, joining as an intern in the international TV arm of Lorimar-Telepictures (which was bought by Warner Bros. in 1989). He later relocated to the U.K. to oversee all TV activities for EMEA, before becoming its first U.K. country manager and adding Ireland and Spain to his title. It was Berger who expanded the creative partnership with J.K. Rowling, overseeing one of the entertainment industry’s most successful global franchises.

It was also Berger who, in 2012, was instrumental in the ground-breaking acquisition of Leavesden Studios, a £100 million ($130 million) investment that was the first studio of its kind to be built in the U.K. in 70 years when it opened, and the only studio facility outside of the U.S. to be owned and operated by a Hollywood studio. Leavesden Studios is also the home of the award-winning and hugely successful tourist attraction Warner Bros. Studio London – The Making of Harry Potter.

"There’s nothing more amazing than seeing stories being brought to life on screen," said Berger. "Over the last 31 years at Warner Bros., I’ve been lucky to see every part of that process in action. I’ve seen ideas being formed and deals being struck, magic being made in front of the camera and behind it, and stories being told from – and sent to – all corners of the earth. I’m so grateful to all my colleagues for making this place feel like home for so long and wish them all the best for the future."

Gerhard Zeiler, head of international, WarnerMedia added: “Josh is one of the most respected people in the industry. He has been integral to the ongoing success of our Warner Bros. businesses in the UK, Ireland and Spain, and has been an incredible steward to the Harry Potter franchise. He was also the first Warner Bros. country manager, pioneering the model which shapes the international organization today. It is fair to say, that thanks to his leadership and energy our company is for sure better off today. I respect his desire to take on new challenges and, along with all of our colleagues across the company, wish him the very best."