Shakeup gives Elliott an internal supervisor of Relativity finances
In an executive shakeup at Relativity Media, prexy Michael Joe is leaving the mini-major to join its sole institutional investor, Elliott Management Corp., where he will focus on supervising the companies’ partnership.In turn, Relativity’s current chief operating officer-chief financial officer Steve Bertram assumes the role of Relativity prexy-CFO, and Brian Edwards, former COO and general counsel at Mark Burnett Prods., has been brought on as COO. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh hired Joe away from Universal just last summer. In his new role, Joe will stay in Los Angeles to oversee Relativity on behalf of Elliott, which has invested hundreds of millions in the venture that started out as a co-financier but has grown into a fully realized studio. “Given my background in the business, this position allows me to leverage all of my resources to help build Relativity’s and Elliott’s partnership,” Joe said in a joint statement issued by Elliott and Relativity. Kavanaugh’s portion of the statement did not directly address the new role for Joe, saying only: “This move, coupled with Bertram and Edwards’ expertise and experience, creates a dynamic platform. Given Relativity’s future plans, and given Steve and Brian’s close involvement with the DreamWorks Animation IPO and their guiding of the sale of DreamWorks LLC to Viacom, there is no better management team I could imagine.” Jesse Cohn, portfolio manager at Elliott, said the company had identified the need for an inhouse Relativity minder and “is fortunate to fill (the post) with someone with Michael’s credentials, valuable experience at Relativity and Universal and a close pre-existing working relationship with our team.” As prexy-CFO, Bertram will assume supervision of the Relativity’s operations worldwide while maintaining oversight of banking relationships and corporate finance responsibilities. Bertram will be reporting directly to Kavanaugh. “Relativity has an exciting future, and these changes will strengthen our operation and enable us to continue developing new opportunities,” Bertram said. “Michael Joe has been a great partner to me, and I look forward to continuing our work together in his new capacity.” As Relativity’s COO, Edwards will manage the studio’s business affairs, legal and business administration while working alongside Bertram to manage day-to-day activities across all divisions. While at Mark Burnett Prods., Edwards led the negotiations for the company’s recently announced joint venture with Hearst Corp. while also working on such series as “Survivor,” “The Apprentice” and NBC’s “The Voice.” Previously, Edwards was a partner in Overnight Prods. and was an exec for eight years at DreamWorks, where he rose to become general counsel and COO.