This just hit out of Sony’s Motion Picture Group: Andrew Gumpert is exiting as head of business affairs this week. Mike Marshall is being promoted to president of business affairs for Columbia Pictures as part of the shakeup, the latest since Tom Rothman came aboard to run the group. The move comes as Lone Star Capital is re-evaluating their deal with Sony. The financier, which agreed to co-finance (with CitiBank) a full slate of films in 2014, pulled out of its $40M commitment to Ghostbusters which Deadline was the first to report two months ago.
That move angered Sony toppers and since then Lone Star, which has a 25% stake in Sony Pictures, has not been exactly happy either, according to a source with knowledge of the dealings. Handling those talks between Sony and Lone Star was Gumpert and Rothman (whose micro-managing style has been a bone of contention for a number of people who work with and at Sony). Gumpert is a very well-liked guy and considered a smart executive.
Sony Pictures elevated Gumpert to head of business affairs in November 2015, with the title of President, Worldwide Business Affairs and Operations. He moved over from Columbia Pictures and reported to Rothman in the move, which essentially consolidated all dealmaking responsibilities under him.
Marshall, whose previous title was EVP and Head of Business Affairs at Columbia, joined the studio in 2008 as SVP Business Affairs. He has overseen deals for The Amazing Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Equalizer and Concussion and is currently working on the rebooted Spider-Man and The Dark Tower.
Here’s Rothman’s memo to staff:
I am writing to inform you of some important changes taking place within Business Affairs in the Motion Picture Group.
Andrew Gumpert, President of Business Affairs for MPG, will be leaving the company this week. Concurrent with Andrew’s departure, Mike Marshall will be promoted to President of business affairs for Columbia Pictures.
I want to thank Andrew for his years of outstanding service to SPE. Andrew has expertly guided SPE through some of the studio’s biggest and most complex deals, and made possible many of our greatest successes. I wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career. Mike is an absolute pro with firm commitment to our mission, and I am thrilled to have him at the helm of business affairs at our flagship label. We anticipate a seamless transition.
For the last 20 months, we have worked together to restructure and strengthen the Motion Picture Group. As you all know, the kind of wholesale change we are working towards is a challenging effort that takes time, and I want to thank all of you for your ongoing commitment. We are feeling very good about our recent results, as evidenced by the recent quarterly earnings report, and, moving forward into 2017, confident in our new slate and turnaround efforts overall.
Please join me in thanking Andrew for his contributions to SPE and congratulating Mike on his promotion.