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Avery Leaves Paramount

5 May, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Kelley Avery, worldwide president of Paramount Pictures’ home entertainment division, May 5 announced she is leaving the position she has held for more than three years.

Avery’s departure was confirmed by insiders shortly before a brief press release was issued by the studio. No replacement is being named. Avery’s direct reports, who include most of the division’s senior executives, will now report to Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore.

“The talented people I have worked with and the tremendous slate of films have made my experience at Paramount both rewarding and satisfying,” Avery said. “Looking forward, I’m truly excited about the next chapter in my career.”

Moore praised Avery with “reshaping the division around the globe.”

“Kelley has built Paramount Home Entertainment into one of the top performing organizations worldwide,” he said.

Indeed, since Avery took the helm of Paramount in 2006, after nine years with DreamWorks SKG, the division gobbled up market share. In two years Paramount jumped from sixth to third among the major studios in home entertainment revenue, and in 2007 generated record revenue of $4.5 billion.

Avery is considered one of the home entertainment sector’s most successful and respected executives. She is the only woman to lead a major studio’s worldwide home entertainment division.

A UCLA graduate, Avery began her career at the Walt Disney Co. in 1984 and soon became one of the top lieutenants to Bill Mechanic and Ann Daly, whom many consider the architects of the sellthrough business. She was part of the team that developed Disney’s hugely successful direct-to-video sequel business, and as senior VP of retail marketing and merchandising was a driving force behind such industry trends as direct selling to top retail accounts.

After jumping ship in 1998 to launch the home entertainment division at new studio DreamWorks SKG, Avery became one of the key players in the broadening of the DVD business with such hits as Shrek and Madagascar.

When Paramount parent Viacom acquired DreamWorks SKG in early 2006, Avery was installed as president of worldwide home entertainment at Paramount Pictures.

Paramount Home Entertainment’s domestic president, Meagan Burrows, left the company last fall.


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