Shocking news has come from 20th Century Fox. The Century City studio has just lost its long-serving Co-Chairman and CEO Tom Rothman, who surprisingly decided to resign from his important position on Friday, September 14.
Following Rothman's departure, the Rupert Murdoch media giant is set to consolidate film operations under studio Co-Chairman since 2000, Jim Gianopulos. The TV division, meanwhile, will operate as a separate unit. 20th TV Co-Chairs Dana Walden and Gary Newman will now report to News Corp. COO Chase Carey.
As a result of the shake-up, the film division will now be called 20th Century Fox Film, which includes 20th Century Fox Film, Fox Searchlight, Fox 2000, Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios, Fox International Productions and Fox Home Entertainment.
Rothman released an open later regarding his resignation on Friday. "I have decided that, after more than 18 years -- the bulk of my adult working life -- I am resigning as Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, effective January 1, 2013," he wrote.
Thanking the Fox group for the wonderful years when he worked in the company, Rothman stressed that he had "done the same thing, at the same place, for a long time" and he needed "some new challenges and to write a new chapter." Still, he stated that he would "also be around until the end of the year to help with the transition and celebrate some of the hits we are about to have."
"If I can leave you with one thought, it's this: for all these years, I have tried to do the job with, above all else, integrity. I think our company stands for doing what is right, even if that is not always easy, and for prizing honesty and forthrightness. I hope that you will carry that mission forward. As for me, a bunch of you guys know what the tattoo on my ankle says. It's what I wish for us all: 'Excelsior'!"
Murdoch later issued his own statement, responding to Rothman's decision. "We would like to extend our appreciation to Tom for the critical role he has played in building our film studio into an industry leader," he said. "His legacy includes many of the biggest films of the last few decades as well as the creation of our indie powerhouse Fox Searchlight. We wish Tom all the best and know he will have continued success in his next chapter."
Welcoming Gianopulos as the new leader, the media mogul gushed, "With a robust slate of upcoming films and Jim's continued leadership, our film unit is well positioned for future growth and couldn't be in better hands. We are confident that Jim's stellar business and creative acumen will take our film business to new heights."