Longtime Universal Pictures spokeswoman Kori Bernards is leaving the studio after seven years. Bernards handled a pressurized job with grace through several regimes, and she is not leaving to take another job. Rather, she intends to take an extended vacation. She waited until most of the huge offerings from the studio reached theaters in what has been a record year for Donna Langley’s feature division. From where I sit, she was one of the best ones at the major studios. Here is the email that was just sent out by Jeff Shell:
From: Jeff Shell (NBCUniversal)
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 2:50 PM
To: @NBC Uni Universal Pictures Global DDL
Cc: Meyer, Ronald (NBCUniversal,); Langley, Donna (NBCUniversal)
Subject: Staff Announcement
Ron, Donna and I wanted to share with you today that after seven years as Universal Pictures chief communications strategist and lead spokesperson, our friend and colleague Kori Bernards has decided to leave the company. As Universal’s head of internal and external global communications, Kori has represented the company on every issue confronting us: Business initiatives, films in development, box office reporting, financial, production and distribution relationships, corporate philanthropic events and all the rest. She’s been a part of many Universal films and navigated countless news stories, giving no less than 100% to Universal on every level.
Since 2008, Kori has helped shepherd the studio through some of its toughest times and into some of its best. She deserves enormous credit for having shaped the positive perception that surrounds our company and our executive team today—our most profitable and best year at the box office in Universal’s 103-year history.
During my first two years as Chairman of the Filmed Entertainment Group, Kori has been a key advisor and friend, providing guidance and support that I am grateful for. She is one of the most passionate, decent and dedicated professionals I have ever worked with and I know she will succeed in whatever she chooses to do next.
Kori’s departure will be a loss for so many of us here.
As Donna put it to me: “We will miss Kori’s exceptional skills as a communications strategist, and we’ll miss the depth of her relationships throughout this company and the larger community. I know whatever she does next will be worthy of her passion, dedication and abilities.”
Finally, Kori wanted to share this short note with all of you: “It has been an extraordinary experience to work at Universal Pictures and in particular, to work with the wonderful people of Universal Pictures. I’ve always been incredibly honored to represent and fight for our company, our executives, and each of you. Together, we have accomplished amazing things, and I will always be grateful that I could do my part. But for some time now, I’ve wanted to step back, take a break, and figure out the next chapter of my life and of my family’s life. And now I’m ready to do exactly that. I will miss coming to the Lot every day and working with all of you. But I know that the tremendous work of this studio—especially of its first-class Communications Team—will continue.”
While it is difficult to replace Kori, we hope to make an announcement about a new head of communications for our company in the coming weeks. Kori will be staying on for the transition and will continue to serve as an advisor as we move through this process.
Please join Donna, Ron and me in thanking Kori and wishing her all the best.