Warner Bros. Entertainment has found its new CEO. On Monday, January 28, the giant movie and TV company announced that it had picked Kevin Tsujihara as its new leader, replacing Barry Meyer who will effectively retire per March 1 after tackling the top position since 1999.
The decision to pick Tsujihara as the new leader came as a surprise since he's considered the dark-horse candidate for the prestigious job. He was racing for the top position against TV group chief Bruce Rosenblum, who was dubbed the favorite candidate, and movie chief Jeff Robinov.
Speaking to Variety, Tsujihara, who has been serving as the leader of Warners' home entertainment division since 2005, said that he hoped Rosenblum and Robinov would stay in their posts to maintain stability at the company.
"In each conversation, we agreed that we don't want to change the culture at Warner Bros. -- not just for the management team but also the creative community and our partners such as Village Roadshow, Legendary and Alcon," he stated.
Of his new position, Tsujihara said, "It is an honor to have the opportunity to lead this storied business. We're at a pivotal moment in the histories of Hollywood and entertainment: Technology is changing the canvas we use to create theatrical releases; home entertainment is rapidly evolving; and the definition of television now includes viewing across a wide range of devices and services."
In a joint statement, former CEO Meyer and Time Warner chairman-CEO Jeff Bewkes added, "Given the talent, depth and strength of the Warner Bros.' leadership, selecting our next CEO was not a decision that could be made hastily or lightly." They went, "But we both agreed that Kevin is the right person to lead Warner Bros. and to build on its proud heritage as the world's most storied content producer."
While Meyer and Bewkes were satisfied with Tsujihara's recruitment, former contender Rosenlum opened up candidly that he's a bit disappointed. "Obviously, I'm disappointed; who wouldn't be?" he opened up.
"Warner Bros. is a unique and special place, and I know it will be in good hands with Kevin at the helm. I continue to be proud of our accomplishments, and I have the most respect and admiration for our amazing team at the studio -- a team that is thriving in an ever-transforming business."
On the other hand, former rival Robinov chose to keep his chin up and said that he's proud of Tsujihara. "I am truly happy and proud of Kevin," he gushed. "We are both good friends and colleagues, and I think he's an excellent choice for the job. The company will be in great shape under his leadership."
Before being chosen as the CEO, Tsujihara was in charge in the negotiations of "The Hobbit" with MGM back in 2010, resulting in the production of the Peter Jackson trilogy. The first chapter, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", has performed well for the studio as it grossed more than $940 million worldwide.