Andrew Essex
Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

In a seismic shift for Tribeca Enterprises, the company has selected veteran advertising exec Andrew Essex as its CEO, replacing co-founder Jane Rosenthal in the post.

Rosenthal, who is now serving as executive chair, launched The Tribeca Film Festival in 2002 with Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City. She’s been the only CEO of the company, which began as festival organizer to help the recovery of lower Manhattan and promote New York as a filmmaking center.

Essex, the former vice chair and founding CEO of ad agency Droga5, will oversee Tribeca’s businesses, which include the film festival along with digital and distribution operations.

Essex will be responsible for overseeing partnerships, marketing, content and digital strategy, business development, as well as all day-to-day operations. Rosenthal will continue to work on the strategic growth of the company, such as the recently launched Tribeca Games.

“It is an extraordinary pleasure to be welcoming Andrew as we head into the 15th Tribeca Film Festival,” Rosenthal said. “Andrew is one of the brightest, most creative minds in the media business. His experience, wit, and vision make him uniquely suited to build on Tribeca’s accomplishments.”

The festival is set for April 13-24 in New York City with Tom Hanks, Tina Fey and Virgin Group’s Richard Branson already announced as featured speakers. The hiring of Essex comes nearly two years after Tribeca Enterprises sold 50% of itself to Madison Square Garden Company.

“I consider Tribeca to be one of the world’s premier multi-platform storytelling organizations, and I am delighted to be joining this prestigious brand and the brilliant team that Jane and her partners have put together,” Essex said.

Tribeca Enterprises said Thursday that Essex will oversee a senior management team including Paula Weinstein, exec VP of content and programming; Patty Newburger, exec VP of event strategy and operations; Sandy O’Hearen, CFO; and Karen Lorenzo, general counsel. Genna Terranova will continue in her role as Tribeca Film Festival Director, working alongside Artistic Director Frederic Boyer, and Geoff Gilmore, who will continue as a consultant.

Tribeca noted that it will no longer actively acquire titles through Tribeca Film. But it added that it recently partnered with Lionsgate to launch the Tribeca Shortlist premium subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, and the two companies will continue to acquire titles for that platform.

Essex departed from Droga5 in July, saying at the time that he wanted to focus on “personal projects.” He sits on the boards of The American Advertising Federation, the iHeart Media Creative Advisory Counsel, Venture For America and the Internet Advertising Bureau. He’s also an advisor to the White House Office of Digital Strategy and the Global Board of Wharton’s Future of Advertising Program.

Prior to moving into advertising, Essex was founding editor-in-chief of Absolute magazine, executive editor of Details magazine from 2000-2004 and held editorial posts at Entertainment Weekly,, and The New Yorker. He is the co-author of three books: “A Very Public Offering: The Story of the,” “Chasing Cool,” with former Barney’s CEO Gene Pressman, and “Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny,” with musician Nile Rodgers.

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