CFO Leger ankles Mutual

Film company loses second high-level exec in two weeks

Barely two weeks after the disclosure that its chief operating officer, Robert Lazarus, was quitting, Paramount-based Mutual Film Co. has lost its second Bob: CFO Robert Leger.

Leger’s responsibilities at Mutual included overseeing business and legal affairs on the international side.

Officially, Mutual partners Mark Gordon and Gary Levinsohn and Leger have “mutually” agreed not to extend his contract.

“We are presently in the process of re-assigning responsibilities within the company,” Gordon and Levinsohn said in a prepared statement. “Robert Lazarus and Robert Leger will be assisting us in the transition as we build an expanding entity designed for the future.”

Insiders, however, said that the deteriorating relationship between Leger and the two Mutual principals was a major factor.

“Things weren’t working out and Robert has chosen not to renew his contract,” said one. “Things weren’t going as smoothly as they have been.”

Although Mutual has secured international rights to many high-profile titles, it has had a bumpy start with its own productions. Actioner “Hard Rain,” for example, cost more than $65 million to make but has only grossed around $20 million.

Leger did not return calls. Levinsohn and Gordon would not comment beyond the statement.

Reportedly, Lazarus also had differences with Gordon and Levinsohn. According to one highly-placed source, Mutual is currently looking for a high-level executive to replace Lazarus as chief operating officer.

Lazarus, who headed up Mutual’s sales division, Mutual Film Intl., is gradually shifting into a consulting role at the company.

Although Leger will leave sooner than Lazarus, sources said that he is expected to remain at Mutual in the short term.

Since its launch one year ago, Mutual has distributed a four-film package comprising Mike Nichols’ “Primary Colors,” the Patrick Swayze-starrer “Black Dog,” the thriller “Virus” and John Boorman’s “A Simple Plan.”

In addition to “Hard Rain,” Mutual’s own productions include the fright film “The Relic.” Gordon and Levinsohn are producing, but not distributing, Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan.”

Mutual’s foreign partners are BBC (U.K.), UGC (France), Toho Towa/Marubeni (Japan) and TeleMuenchen (Germany).

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