Image Entertainment CEO-prexy Marty Greenwald is handing the reins of the quirky video and production company he founded to longtime lieutenant David Borshell today.
Borshell, who had been chief operating officer since 2000, steps up to president with Greenwald’s exit from the exec suite. The company will not fill the CEO post; Greenwald, a colorful character who formed Image after 20 years in the adult video biz, will remain chairman of the board.
The shift comes with the start of the publicly traded company’s new fiscal year. It follows several turbulent years for the company, which entered into a merger with BTP, since dissolved, and earlier fended off a hostile takeover bid by Lionsgate.
Greenwald, 66, had intended to stay at the company for one more year but opted to step aside and give Borshell a chance to pull the company out of its financial funk.
“He’s certainly very capable of pulling this off,” Greenwald said. “He got the job because he earned it.”
Borshell, who started at the company in 1984 as a part-time shipping clerk when he was a college student at Cal State Northridge, said he had made no secret of his desire to take the reins but always knew that moment wouldn’t come until Greenwald was ready to step down.
“I’m grateful to Marty and the board for giving me the opportunity because too often boards go outside for new leadership,” Borshell said.
Borshell has been handling much of the acquisitions and day-to-day responsibilities in recent years as Greenwald tended to shareholder concerns and navigated various acquisition bids. Although the company has moved into digital distribution in recent years, its main focus remains DVD.
“Our first priority is profitability,” Borshell said. “We’ll be looking at all areas to maximize our profitability.”
Image, which generates about $100 million in annual revenue, reported a $2.05 million loss in its third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31. The company, which started as a laserdisc distributor, revolves around a quirky catalog with a heavy concentration in music and comedy videos, some of which the company produces. It has distributed the Criterion Collection of upscale special editions for a few years and has been trying to get into the feature film game.
For now, the company is off the market, although Borshell acknowledges that its distribution apparatus could attract future takeover bids.
Greenwald said he felt sad to be stepping back from the company he helped build but acknowledged that the ownership battles of the past few years have taken their toll on him.
He said the takeover bids were very distracting and hindered the company’s ability to snag more distribution deals in a challenging marketplace.
“If they’re going to buy the company, buy the company,” Greenwald said. “For me, it’s been nine rounds of body punches.”
Greenwald said he plans to remain active in outside real estate ventures — he’s developing a shopping mall in Las Vegas and another development on the East Coast — and feature film projects.
“I’ve had all the fun in the world,” Greenwald said. “Now I think I can be a more effect chairman and he can be a more effective leader.”