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new year new boss

I happen to be writing this article after having read about the last lay-off, of Bob Osher, former head of Sony’s digital division.There’s a high probability that some executive is loosing its job right while I’m writing this article…

Which are the main farewells and applause of 2015?

Actually we should start from a little bit earlier, more precisely…

DECEMBER 2014: WARNER BROTHERS

Ed Romano got promoted to vice chairman of Warner Brothers. He basically work his entire life in Warner Brothers, and the last 20 and something years as the CFO. During Romano’s tenure, annual revenues have grown from $200 million in 1968 to $12.7 billion in 2013. This position was created form scratch appositely for him, so he could better assist the Chairman in the implementation of its strategy. Keywords are: internationalization, digital transition, reallocation. Ed Romano being the first one to be reallocated, we wait to know who will be the next ones.

JANUARY 2015: DREAMWORKS

Dawn Taubin is the first victim of the desperate financial situation of Dreamworks. Maybe they would have needed Ed Romano. Truth is, Dawn Taubin was CMO, and as we know, when things don’t work this is the first head to be cut. She’s not alone though, COO Mark Zoradi and Vice Chairman Lewis Coleman are “exiting the company as part of the restructuring plan“.

FEBRUARY 2015: SONY, WALT DISNEY, FOX

On the finish line goes Amy Pascal, former co-chairman of Sony Pictures, who declares that she’s so happy to have the chance of being a producer now! Truth is, during the hack attack on the Hollywood studio blamed on North Korea some embarrassing emails leaked. Pascal was forced to apologize in December for the emails, including one which saw her swap racially insensitive jokes about the US President. But we all sympathize for such bad luck, and so she got replaced by Thomas E. Rothman. Rothman,  previously entertainment lawyer, while at Fox, opposed a proposed distribution partnership with DreamWorks Animation – even after it became clear that Rupert Murdoch favored the alliance. It was Amy Pascal who brought Rothman on board, and it seems that this will be a smooth transition at Sony.

On the same day Thomas Staggs  became COO at Walt Disney. This move puts him in position to eventually succeed Chief Executive Bob Iger. Staggs, MBA at Stanford, has already CFO  at Disney, and most recently, in January 2010, he swapped jobs with current finance chief Jay Rasulo to become chairman of Disney’s parks and resorts division. This change therefore is no change at the end, it just means that at some point we’ll see Thomas Staggs become CEO.

Four days ago, 20th Century Fox TV didn’t want to loose its turn and promoted Jonathan Davis to President. Davis will oversee four of the studio’s five programming departments:  comedy development, drama development, animation and current. This is the first time that four departments go under the same president, and especially both drama and comedy.   In the past, when Jennifer Salke, now NBC entertainment president, was in the same position, she never the less reported to Walden and Newman.

Last but not least, two days ago, Bob Osher, head of digital division at Sony, had his farewell. I read this change as the first step in the implementation of Sony’s new strategy and strong focus on digital expansion.

what about Comcast and  TWC? My bet?

As I wrote in my last post, they’re waiting to merge before cutting heads off.

WHO’S NEXT?

As the health of Sumner Redstone, the 91-year-old chairman of Viacom, deteriorates, the hyenas begin to run in circles. It’s been a parlor game in Wall Street in recent months to speculate what will happen when Redstone’s controlling interests in both companies are passed on to a family trust governed by five people, including his daughter Shari Redstone and Viacom chief Philippe Dauman.

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