Richard Fox, who has been with Warner Bros. 42 years and served the last 25 as Executive VP, International, will be leaving his post. Fox spent his entire professional career at the studio and remained during regime after regime change from 1975 forward. He moved to Beijing in January 2016 to spearhead the studio’s expansion in China and to oversee Warner Bros.’ 49% interest in Flagship Entertainment, a Chinese language film co-production joint venture with China Media Capital (CMC).
In August 2016, Gillian Zhao — who has worked closely with Fox over the past eight months — was named Executive VP and Managing Director of Warner Bros. China. She now oversees all of the Studio’s in-country businesses as well as its stake in Flagship.
While in China, Fox worked with divisional leaders in the U.S., as well as current Warner Bros execs in China, to coordinate business activities and explore new opportunities and partnerships.
“Richard was a key architect of the relationship between Warner Bros. and CMC, including the founding of Flagship Entertainment,” said Li Ruigang, Chairman of CMC (which was previously known as China Media Capital) in a statement. “His expertise and experience in the global entertainment business have been invaluable as our companies explore various opportunities to work together. He’s a great partner, and I wish him well on his next chapter.”
Fox, who was the key force behind the growth of the studio’s local-language film production, was also instrumental in introducing the Country Manager structure to help the company optimize its profitability and collaboration across its divisions in key overseas territories — and the studio now has Country Managers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan and China.
Warner Bros. has had great success with local-language productions under Fox’s stewardship in markets like Germany and Japan. In China, it is a partner in Tencent’s SVOD service Hollywood VIP, licenses TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, and has a hand in various consumer products initiatives and videogames. WB films to have released successfully in the PROC.
Having joined the company at a time when studios were just beginning to realize the potential of the overseas marketplace, Fox started in 1975 as a management trainee working in Australia and Japan. In 1977, he became Managing Director of Columbia-Warner Distribution in New Zealand, and in 1978, he was named Managing Director of Warner Bros. in Tokyo (for Japan and Korea). Returning to the U.S. in 1981, he joined the office of the President of Warner Bros. Pictures’ international theatrical distribution division. In 1982, he was named VPt, Sales, moving up to Executive VP in 1983, and thereafter was named President of the division in 1985, a post he held for seven years.
“Anywhere you go in the world, people in the film business love and respect Richard,” said Warner Bros.’ Chairman?CEO Kevin Tsujihara. “He knows the markets, he knows the players and he’s been an incredible executive and ambassador for the company. I thank him for his many contributions to the company …”
Largely due to Fox’s efforts, Warner Bros. has been the producer, financier and/or distributor of more than 600 films in more than 20 countries around the world.
And, throughout his career, Fox ended up knowing and working with such filmmakers as Til Schweiger, Alfonso Cuarón, Stanley Kubrick, Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, George Miller, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, David Puttnam, Pedro Almodóvar, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Giuseppe Tornatore, Carlo Verdone, Jiang Wen and Ken Watanabe.
Fox has received a number of commendations for his efforts to promote film production and movie-going. In 2006, France appointed him Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) and in 2011, he was promoted to Officer de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres(Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters), both in recognition of his lifetime commitment to cultural diversity, as exemplified by his achievements in the world of international film. Fox was also the recipient of the inaugural CinemaCon Passepartout Award in 2011.
In 2008, Fox received the honorary title Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic), which is conferred by the President of the Italian Republic on Italian and foreign citizens who have distinguished themselves through lasting contributions to Italian society.