Kevin Tsujihara Named CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment28 Jan, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Veteran home entertainment executive to head studio in major shakeup
In a surprise move, veteran home entertainment executive Kevin Tsujihara will become CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment beginning March 1, with Barry Meyer remaining chairman for a transition period through the end of this year, Time Warner announced.
Tsujihara, along with Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, and Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television Group, in 2010 formed the then newly created Office of the President, which reported directly to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes. The group was designed to allow the studio presidents to become “more engaged” in overall operations at the studio as it confronts ongoing changes in the marketplace, including convergence of content and distribution platforms.
It was believed that Bewkes would ultimately chose one of the executives to run Warner Bros.
"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," Bewkes and Meyer said in a joint statement. "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."
Tsujihara said the industry is at a "pivotal moment" in the histories of Hollywood and entertainment, with evolving technology at the center of how studios create theatrical releases, home entertainment is in consumed, including television.
"We are extremely fortunate to have strong relationships with some of the industry’s most gifted talent and together we will continue to use those relationships, our scale and our passion to build on Warner Bros. great legacy," Tsujihara said in a statement.
Tsujihara joined Warner Bros. in 1994 as director of special projects and finance to assist in the management of the company’s interest in Six Flags. Across his nearly two decades with the company he has served as EVP of corporate business development and strategy at Warner Bros. Entertainment and, EVP of new media, responsible for the oversight of all Warner Bros.’ new media endeavors.
Tsujihara, who spearheaded the studio’s nascent digital efforts (Entertaindom.com) more than 10 years ago, has been instrumental in pushing transactional video-on-demand (VOD) day-and-date with new-release discs. He has also championed the prospect of premium VOD, believing consumers would be willing to pay extra for select early releases.
In a 2006 interview with Home Media Magazine, Tsujihara hinted at ongoing changes in theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, pay television and network television distribution windows. At the time, Tsujihara argued against maintaining artificial time barriers erected in home entertainment between packaged media and digital distribution.
He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California and his MBA from Stanford University. He sits on the boards for the MPAA, City Year Los Angeles, an education-focused nonprofit organization, the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, Kabam, the Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation and the Entertainment Software Association.
Senator Chris Dodd, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, lauded Tsujihara's promotion and Meyer's reign at the studio.
"I applaud Time Warner for this decision," Dodd said in a statement. "Kevin has done a remarkable job overseeing the organization’s home entertainment division, and his leadership will serve as a tremendous asset, not only for Warner Bros., but for the entire film and television industry. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Kevin as he takes on this important new role."
Dodd said Meyer remains a "good friend," adding that the executive's support and guidance over the years, including board member of the MPAA, has been "invaluable."