EXCLUSIVE: Imagenation has experienced quite an executive shake-up in recent weeks. CEO Ed Borgerding left the Abu Dhabi-based film fund last week while COO Stefan Brunner exited shortly before that. The new CEO Michael Garin has spent the last 3½ years on the Executive Committee of Imagenation’s parent company Abu Dhabi Media Company. The former CEO of TV broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises, Garin was previously head of media at Dutch investment bank ING and before that worked at Lorimar-Telepictures, which was eventually swallowed up by Warner Bros.
I’m hearing that the reason why Borgerding left was because he was appointed by former Abu Dhabi Media Company chairman Mohamed Khalaf al Mazrouei and not its current chairman, Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei. “Ed never had a personal relationship or the trust of Mohamed,” one source tells me. “Mohamed was put in charge to change things. How do you change things? Start with the head.”
Imagenation Abu Dhabi is the $1 billion film fund launched in September 2008. It has announced a string of high-profile partnerships – including a $250 million joint venture with Participant Media, a $250 million deal with Hyde Park Entertainment, a $100 million deal with National Geographic, and a $10 million revolving development fund with producers Walter Parkes/Laurie Macdonald to invest in projects developed through their DreamWorks first-look deal. Imagenation began shooting its first local production, the coming-of-age story Sea Shadow, at the end of October.