The studio just announced the changes one day ahead of its Q2 earnings — and after watching its shares lose 35.4% of their value since the beginning of the year. “As DreamWorks [Animation] grows, we are focusing on creating a strong management structure that has the expertise and capacity to best serve the changing needs of our company,” CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says. Mark Zoradi was president of Disney’s Motion Picture Group overseeing marketing and distribution until 2010. He also helped to launch Walt Disney Home Entertainment and The Disney Channel and served as General Manager of Buena Vista Television. He says that he’s “enthusiastic about the opportunity to join the talented DreamWorks team at a time of remarkable expansion and growth for the company” and plans to help “build and expand their reach with new businesses and venues.”
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In the process, DWA elevated Ann Daly — who had been COO since it went public in 2004 — to president. Lew Coleman, who had been president, now becomes Vice-Chairman, and holds on to his other titles as Chief Financial Officer and Acting Chief Accounting Officer.
The changes come as DWA strives to win back investors by making itself less dependent on films, which lately have failed to live up to expectations. It’s beefing up television production, licensed merchandise, and location-based entertainment ventures. But many remain concerned about company prospects after it took write-downs for Rise Of The Guardians, Turbo, and Mr. Peabody And Sherman. Only two analysts rate DWA shares a buy; six have a hold rating, and three say the company will underperform the market. Two weeks ago B. Riley’s Eric Wold downgraded the company to neutral from buy following lower-than-expected box office results for the latest film, How To Train Your Dragon 2. DWA may become “a ‘show me’ stock…until more consistent box office results develop,” he says.
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