DreamWorks Animation may have replaced its chairman, but observers expect a smooth transition at a company many associate with just one name: Jeffrey.
Jeffrey Katzenberg’s toon studio announced Thursday that board member Mellody Hobson would replace chairman Roger Enrico, who resigned after holding the position since the company went public in 2004.
Enrico is known for his work at PepsiCo, where he spent 31 years and most prominently served as chairman-CEO. But his role with DWA — one of the few media companies that splits the chairman and CEO roles — had been substantially lower-profile.
“Roger’s a seasoned executive and I think his contributions will be missed, but this has really always been Jeffrey’s company, so we expect a fairly seamless transition in corporate governance,” Chris Merwin, an equity research analyst with Barclays who covers DreamWorks Animation, told Variety .
Hobson is president of Chicago-based Ariel investments and sits on the boards of Starbucks, Groupon and Estee Lauder. She is also a regular financial contributor to “Good Morning America,” a featured contributor to Tom Joyner’s Money Mondays radio program and a regular columnist for Black Enterprise. Hobson received a B.A. from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy.
“Roger has been an invaluable leader to our board of directors, and his guidance helped put DreamWorks Animation on a path to success from day one,” said CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg in a statement. “On behalf of the board (and) our entire management team, I’d like to deeply thank Roger for his unfailing service over the past eight years and wish him the very best in the future.”
Move to replace Enrico comes after several shifts at the company that have broadened the toon studio’s reach and increased Katzenberg’s internal control.
In February, Katzenberg announced a plan to build a $330 million animation facility outside of Shanghai. In July, the company completed its purchase of Classic Media, an intellectual property treasure trove that includes Casper, Lassie and over 450 films and more than 6,100 episodes of animated and live-action programming. The company hasn’t publicly disclosed its plans to exploit that content in television, but many bizzers have speculated that TV is one area Katzenberg is looking to delve into further. And in October, the exec consolidated his control over DWA after co-founder David Geffen swapped his voting shares for non-voting stock.
“DreamWorks Animation is now in a transition period,” Merwin said. “I think (Katzenberg) is taking steps to better position the company for the future beyond just the theatrical and physical DVD businesses.”