Alliance severs ties with Rose, execs in L.A.

MONTREAL — Alliance Atlantis Communications president Lewis Rose has been fired as part of a shakeup at the leading film and TV company in the Great White North.

David Ginsburg, the Los Angeles-based president of the Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Group, is also leaving the company as a result of the executive realignment. In addition, seven other mid-management positions in the Los Angeles office are being cut.

Alliance Atlantis chairman and CEO Michael MacMillan said the shakeup was designed to streamline senior management operations at the Canuck company and simplify Alliance Atlantis’ corporate structure.

Rose will not be replaced, MacMillan added.

Reaction from investors was muted. The company’s stock price was up C20¢ (13¢) to $9.12 on the Toronto stock exchange by Tuesday’s close.

The moves give more power to MacMillan, as the company’s three main operating divisions — television, motion pictures and broadcasting — will now all report directly to the CEO.

The new-media group and human resources department will also report to MacMillan.

The changes have also included shifts for two longtime Alliance Atlantis execs. Seaton McLean, one of the founders of Atlantis Films, has been appointed president of motion picture production, replacing Ginsburg, and the feature-film division will be moved to Toronto from Los Angeles.

The geographic shift will not influence the kind of pics produced by Alliance Atlantis, according to MacMillan.

Recent Alliance Atlantis pics include Istvan Szabo’s “Sunshine” and Jeremy Podeswa’s “The Five Senses.”

McLean was previously prexy of TV production at Alliance Atlantis. Ginsburg joined Alliance Communications in 1998, following Alliance’s acquisition of Citadel Entertainment, which Ginsburg ran. Rose was appointed chief financial officer of Atlantis in April 1996 and was named president of the company in 1997. Alliance and Atlantis merged in the summer of 1998.

Peter Sussman, who shared responsibility for TV production with McLean, has been upped to president, TV production. He will remain the senior exec in the company’s Los Angeles office.

“I think these are very useful changes,” MacMillan said. “What we’re trying to do is give us a more effective management structure. But there’s not going to be any change in the motion pictures we’re making here. They will continue to be director-driven, upscale films in the $2 million to $10 million budget range.”

Analyst Adam Shine from World Markets in Montreal said the corporate restructuring will likely have little impact on the company’s lackluster stock price.

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