I’m told Paramount has laid off the following executives: Louise Kaufman, who’s been head of PR in NY for 12 years; Alan Bell, chief technology officer; Megan Burrows, president of domestic home entertainment; and, as I’d previously reported, Nick Meyer, president of Paramount Vantage. Those are the four most senior folks let go. Insiders tell me there could be more cuts in the marketing and distribution and publicity areas after The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button is done with its Oscar campaign since it’s so important to Brad Grey and his former company Plan B and client Brad Pitt. In total, the studio is laying off just under 150 employees worldwide.
- Paramount Drops 3 Major Producer Deals
- Nick Meyer Out At Paramount Vantage
At Warner Bros, no layoffs have been ordered yet. But I’ve been hearing rumblings because department heads are meeting about trimming their budgets. Still, insiders don’t anticipate any announcements over the next few weeks.
UPDATE: Sony Pictures is looking at cutting back its producer deals.
The rumor all over Hollywood is that Sony Pictures will lay off 7% of its workforce in January. And that senior executives have been asked to give names to be cut which will be handed in December 19th. Then, sometime at the beginning of January, Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton will be given the list for their approval with lay-offs starting at the end of January. But this whispering is strenuously denied by the studio. In fact, Lynton has told Sony Pictures employees that no one would be laid off. But that’s hard to imagine considering that parent company Sony on December 9th, announced plans to lay off 8,000 employees, or 4% of Sony’s global workforce of 186,000, eliminating more than $1 billion in expenses over the next 15 months. For now, Sony is focusing the cost-cutting on its electronics business.
As for the studio, I’m told the movie division is doing well enough that the bigwigs don’t forsee layoffs. Instead,, Sony Pictures is actively engaged in cost cutting — travel and entertainment (everyone going down a class when flying), overtime (none), cutting back on temps (only if someone will be out more than 3 days), messenger services and Fedex (only in rare circumstances), freezing open spots, reevaluating a position whenever someone leaves, etc. And they’ll keep evaluating over the holiday sales period since DVD sales were way down in October and November and should end the year falling 10% to 15%. Concludes one of my insiders: “I would never say ‘never’ on the question of layoffs because it’s impossible to know what things will look like in the new year.”