UPDATED with John Stankey memo: WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey sent an internal memo to staffers Tuesday officially naming Toby Emmerich, Peter Roth and Kim Williams as the company’s interim leadership team.
“We all recognize that operating day-to-day in this manner will be a little different from the normal course of business,” he wrote, “but the four of us agree that we need to remain focused and steer clear of any counterproductive speculation around what this temporary leadership group portends for the future. Toby, Peter and Kim will keep us focused squarely on achieving our goals and staying on track with our ambitious plans for Warner Bros. this year.”
In the interim structure set following the exit Monday of Warner Bros chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara, Stankey said Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Group chairman Emmerich will focus on theatrical, home entertainment and games; Warner Bros Television Group president and CCO Roth will coordinate television production and Kids and Young Adults group interests; and Warner Bros Entertainment CFO Williams will coordinate with all of the other areas including Otter Media.
Stankey also reiterated that the search for a permanent replacement for Tsujihara is underway.
“I have committed to moving quickly as we conduct a thorough and thoughtful search for a new Chairman and CEO to lead Warner Bros.,” he wrote. “This is an organization that has many talented individuals already operating successfully as a team. My priority is to install leadership that sustains the direction and priorities of the organization – not dramatically change course.”
Read the full memo here or embedded below.
PREVIOUS UPDATE, 8:54 AM: WarnerMedia hasn’t officially unveiled its interim team yet, but the buzz this morning is that Warner Bros. Entertainment CFO Kim Williams will be rounding out the team with Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich and Warner Bros. Television Group President and CCO Peter Roth.
Yesterday, the buzz around the lot was that Global Brands boss Pam Lifford would be part of the trio, but that changed in recent hours.
In regards to an immediate hire who’ll take over CEO & Chairman Kevin Tsujihara who stepped down yesterday in the wake of the extramarital scandal, it’s too soon to tell. Warners wasn’t planning to search for a CEO when they expanded Tsujihara’s role two weeks ago. 20th Century Fox Film Chairwoman Stacey Snider’s name keeps being floated by the press, however, she hasn’t been spotted on the Burbank lot lately, and the notion that someone with digital expertise along the lines of a Jeff Shell could ride herd of the burgeoning digital future at Warners would be a prime candidate. Another name being floated for the Warner CEO role is New Line co-head Carolyn Blackwood.
Variety had the break on Kim Williams today.
UPDATED, 1:01 PM Following Warner Bros. CEO & Chairman Kevin Tsujihara’s stepping down today, Deadline has confirmed that an interim leadership group will be named tomorrow to takeover the embattled exec’s daily duties.
The speculation is that team will include Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. Television Group President and CCO Peter Roth, and another executive, most likely female. Many of these execs haven’t even been informed by Stankey yet, so this line-up could change by tomorrow. Word is that the female executive being considered is Warner Bros. President of Global Brands and Experiences, Pam Lifford, considered to be a very important voice on the Burbank, CA lot. Lifford’s responsibilities include Warner Bros. Consumer Products, DC, and Themed Entertainment.
In the wake of new texts that hit the trades about Tsujihara’s extramarital affair with British actress Charlotte Kirk and the alleged possibility that he was involved in having her cast in Ocean’s 8 and How to Be Single, the executive stepped down this morning, effective immediately.
“It is in the best interest of WarnerMedia, Warner Bros., our employees and our partners for Kevin to step down as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.,” said WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey in a statement. “Kevin has contributed greatly to the studio’s success over the past 25 years and for that we thank him. Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the Company’s leadership expectations and could impact the Company’s ability to execute going forward.”
Here is Stankey’s memo in its entirely:
March 19, 2019
To: WarnerMedia Colleagues
From: John Stankey
Subject: Warner Bros. Leadership Transition
I’ve asked three members of the existing Warner Bros. executive team to lead the organization on an interim basis until a new Chairman and CEO is named. We are doing this to ensure minimal disruption to the day-to-day operations of the studio and to provide the time we need to conduct a thorough search to find the best candidate to lead this incredible and storied business to its next chapter of growth and success. Our creative and business partners deserve this. Our company – and you – deserve no less.
The executives who have graciously come together to help me manage this business on an interim basis are: Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group; Peter Roth, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Television Group; and Kim Williams, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment.
We all recognize that operating day-to-day in this manner will be a little different from the normal course of business, but the four of us agree that we need to remain focused and steer clear of any counterproductive speculation around what this temporary leadership group portends for the future. Toby, Peter and Kim will keep us focused squarely on achieving our goals and staying on track with our ambitious plans for Warner Bros. this year.
I will work closely with the three of them during this period to help make sure issues are quickly addressed and operations continue to progress in the normal course of business. Toby, Peter and Kim will be responsible for bringing forward any matters that require broader deliberation and a more integrated review – those outside of the normal decision-making process within our skillfully led teams in each department.
To help with this and minimize organization disruption Toby, Peter and Kim will coordinate groups of their peers functioning as a team. Toby will handle matters around theatrical, home entertainment and games; Peter will coordinate all television production interests and do the same with the Kids and Young Adults group; and Kim will coordinate with all of the other areas, including Otter Media.
I have committed to moving quickly as we conduct a thorough and thoughtful search for a new Chairman and CEO to lead Warner Bros. This is an organization that has many talented individuals already operating successfully as a team. My priority is to install leadership that sustains the direction and priorities of the organization – not dramatically change course.
It goes without saying that our ability to tap into leaders of the caliber of Toby, Peter and Kim to continue our momentum without missing a beat is a testament to the talent we have across all of our companies. It also underscores the values, team orientation and spirit of collaboration that each of these executives exemplifies, and I thank them all for stepping up and leading by example.
Let’s continue working together to build an environment that informs and inspires audiences everywhere.