UPDATE with 21st Century Fox statement: 20th Century Fox Film chairman Jim Gianopulos, who was expected to stay in his job until next year when he would step aside to make way for new boss Stacey Snider, is exiting the studio early. Parent 21st Century Fox made it official this afternoon, saying that Snider will take over as chairman and CEO on September 1.
News leaked out earlier today that Gianopulos was expected to exit early, around Labor Day; he was en route from a vacation in Greece and unable to comment. Sources said the veteran executive already has settled out his contract, which was to expire June 30, 2017. When the Snider deal was announced, the release said Gianopulos would stay on after that in a new strategic role at 21st Century Fox. We’re hearing that a consultancy role may not be a part of the settlement.
When she takes over, Snider, who has been film studio’s co-chairman since November 2014, will oversee all areas of the studio including its five production divisions, global marketing and distribution, and home entertainment.
“We are incredibly grateful to Jim for his many contributions to our film business over his storied career at the studio and wish him much success on his next endeavors,” said 21st Century Fox’s executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch and CEO James Murdoch. “We are fortunate to have Stacey with us to lead the studio into its next chapter and are confident we will see great success under her headship.”
Gianopulos has been with the studio for 25 years, one of the few executives ever to rise out of the distribution ranks to head a major studio (along with former WBros.’ boss Terry Semel and former Disney head Dick Cook). He had been in the chairman position since 2012. Deadline‘s sister publication Variety was the first to report the news.
Here’s 21st Century Fox’s full release:
21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA, FOX) announced today that it will complete its previously announced leadership succession at Twentieth Century Fox Film on September 1, 2016 when Stacey Snider assumes the role of Chairman and CEO.
Longtime executive Jim Gianopulos, the Chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Film, has chosen to step down from his current post earlier than planned, allowing for a more immediate transition of leadership for the film studio.
Snider, who has served as the film studio’s Co-Chairman since November 2014, will oversee all areas of the film studio, including the studio’s five production divisions, global marketing and distribution and home entertainment.
“We are incredibly grateful to Jim for his many contributions to our film business over his storied career at the studio and wish him much success on his next endeavors,” said Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch. “We are fortunate to have Stacey with us to lead the studio into its next chapter and are confident we will see great success under her headship.”
“I am so grateful to Jim for his guidance and friendship since I joined Fox,” said Stacey Snider. “We will all miss his wisdom and business instincts and wish him the best in whatever endeavors he takes on next. I am truly excited to embark upon this new challenge and look forward to building upon, with all my colleagues, the awesome legacy 20th Century Fox has carved into the foundation of this industry.”
“After 25 years at the studio, and 16 years as Chairman/CEO, I have experienced the greatest joys, successes and thrills that this business can offer. I am grateful for the opportunities the Murdochs have afforded me, and to all of my friends and colleagues at Fox, past and present. I am confident that the studio will flourish with the films Stacey and I have put in production and development, together and the films she and Fox’s great executives and filmmakers will produce in the future. I will miss the place where I have spent the majority of my career, and I wish everyone at Fox the best of success, health and happiness going forward,” said Jim Gianopulos.
After months of rumors, Snider joined Fox as what was seen as a possible succession plan to Gianopulos. She joined the studio after serving eight years as CEO and co-chairman of DreamWorks Studios where she oversaw creative and financial aspects of all film development and production for the studio. Prior to joining DreamWorks in 2006, she served as chairman of Universal Pictures and before that was president of TriStar Pictures. She started out as an executive at EVP of Guber Peters Entertainment.