BREAKING: Warner Bros has just made it official that Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President, International Distribution and Growth Initiatives, will depart the studio by the end of 2018. During her tenure she has overseen the release of 350-plus titles that amassed north of $40 billion. Among a plethora of box office records, one big high Kwan Vandenberg pulled off: releasing the first film ever simultaneously around the world at the same hour, that being The Matrix Revolutions which yielded ultimately $460 million.
From now until the end of the year, Kwan Vandenberg will transition from her current post to serve as Special Advisor to Ron Sanders, President, Worldwide Theatrical Distribution and Home Entertainment. In addition, there have been several other promotions including Jim Wuthrich being named President of Warner Bros. WW Home Entertainment and Games, Jim Gewert serving as EVP, WW Finance & Ops for Home Entertainment and Theatrical Marketing & Distribution. With Gewart’s role expanding, David Brander, EVP , WW Marketing & International Distribution Operations, is retiring.
Sanders and Global marketing chief Blair Rich just alerted staff with the following internal memo:
As we continue to evaluate and realign our team to better manage film titles through their entire lifecycle, we have made some structural changes we’d like to share with you.
Jim Wuthrich has been named President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment and Games, with full oversight of those businesses. Jim will report to Ron Sanders and work closely with Blair Rich who oversees home entertainment marketing of new theatrical releases.
Jessica Schell, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Film, for Home Entertainment will continue to report to Jim Wuthrich and jointly report to Jim and Blair on the theatrical new release slate.
David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, will continue to run our videogame business and now report to Jim.
Veronika Kwan Vandenberg is planning to leave the Studio by year’s end to spend more time with her family. Prior to that, she will transition to become Special Advisor to Ron, focusing on global film distribution and navigating the rapidly evolving global distribution landscape. Veronika has been with the Studio for almost 30 years and has played an invaluable role in establishing Warner Bros. as a leader in the international film marketplace. Her contributions to our success cannot be overstated.
Tom Molter, Executive Vice President, International Distribution, previously reported to Veronika and will now head up the international distribution operation and report to Ron.
Jim Gewert will now serve as Executive Vice President, Worldwide Finance & Operations for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Theatrical Marketing & Distribution, with responsibility for the finance and operations of both the theatrical and home entertainment marketing and distribution groups. Jim will report to Blair and Ron.
With Jim’s role expanding, David Brander, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing & International Distribution Operations, will be retiring.
After 36 years with the company, David will be moving back to the UK, having relocated to LA in 2010 to work out of the home office. Throughout his tenure, David has been a key member of the international theatrical team, and we thank him for everything he’s done for the company.
We’re confident these moves will help us meet our goals of being more responsive to consumer demand while still creating unique theatrical and home entertainment experiences, and providing increased benefits to our filmmaking, exhibition and retail partners.
Thank you all for your support as we continue to evolve our operations to meet the needs of the business and stay ahead of the changing marketplace.
Blair and Ron
Kwan Vandenberg is a 28-year vet of the Burbank lot, becoming one of the youngest presidents at the studio in 2000. In her most recent position, she had oversight of the Studio’s international theatrical distribution activities, including local productions and a special focus on China. Together with Gillian Zhao, Warner Bros.’ Executive Vice President and Managing Director for China, Kwan Vandenberg negotiated the studio’s first film investment partnership with Wanda and Tencent.
“Veronika has led our international film distribution division since 2000, and Warner Bros. could not have had a better representative in the global marketplace,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group. “She’s highly regarded, well-liked and recognized as a great partner by filmmakers, exhibitors and her peers. Her deep knowledge of the business, the international markets and her longstanding relationships have helped us achieve great results. As a China specialist, Veronika was tremendously helpful in shaping our theatrical vision in that complex market. We thank her for everything she’s done for the Studio and look forward to working with her through this transition.”
“Warner Bros. has been my second home and family for almost 30 years. I’ve had the great fortune to work with so many talented, creative and visionary people and I shall miss them all,” said Kwan Vandenberg. “I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished over the years and I’m particularly proud of the great team we have in place. I want to thank Toby and Kevin (Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO) for their support, and I look forward to working with Ron. I have spent many years traveling for the job, so I am especially looking forward to spending time with my family and taking some time for myself, and I am excited about what this new chapter in life will bring.”
Prior to her current post, Kwan Vandenberg served as President, Worldwide Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, where she was instrumental in helping realign the international and domestic distribution divisions and setting the release dates to fully maximize the global revenue-generating potential of Warner Bros.’ theatrical releases. She also served as President of International Distribution for 15 years, overseeing all international sales and distribution matters, cultivating and growing relationships with exhibitors, film makers, partners, producers, peers and colleagues, representing the company on the MPA International Theatrical committee.
Kwan Vandenberg’s B.O. achievements include taking Warner Bros. to the No. 1 or 2 spot during 12 of the last 17 years including five years over $3 billion at the international box office. During this time she oversaw the release of 30 titles that grossed over a half billion at the B.O., including 15 over $600 million. Some of these titles include such franchises as Harry Potter, The Dark Knight, The Hobbit, The Matrix, Sherlock Holmes, the New Line horror universe, The Hangover as well as Clint Eastwood’s canon including American Sniper, Gran Torino and Sully as well as Ben Affleck’s Oscar winning pic Argo.