Dee Dee Myers, former White House press secretary for President Clinton, tells Variety that she doesn’t have a “playbook” for her transition from politics to Hollywood. She’ll assume the role as Warner Bros.’ head of corporate communications in September, taking over from Susan Fleishman.
“Obviously I have a lot to learn,” Myers told Variety. “In politics there are a lot of complex issues and a lot of different stakeholders. The news media is interested in everything that happens. So how do you then position your fill in the blank [issue] to meet those challenges? I thought that’s where things were comparable to entertainment.”
Myers first met with Warner studio chief Kevin Tsujihara in December in New York where the two had a conversation about “generally what’s going on in the world,” said Myers.
The two then met a month later in Los Angeles, and then again a few weeks ago when Tsujihara offered her the job. “It kind of evolved. We were talking about a specific job and what it would be and how he would envision it and how I would envision it and then it was about agreeing on terms,” said Myers.
From now until September, when she joins the studio as exec VP worldwide of corporate communications and public affairs, Jim Noonan, a top PR exec at Warner Home Entertainment, will serve as interim head of communications.
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This isn’t the first time Myers has been involved with Warner Bros. As the first female White House press secretary during President Clinton’s initial two years in office, Myers was the inspiration for Allison Janney’s C.J. Cregg, a press secretary in Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing,” which was produced by Warner Bros. TV. Sorkin recruited Myers to be a consultant on the show.
The path from politics to Hollywood is especially familiar in the corporate communications area. Flo Grace worked at Rogers and Cowan in Washington D.C. before becoming a spokeswoman for Fox and then leaving to establish Grace PR. Prior to heading of media relations for CAA and serving as VP of government relations for Disney, Anna Perez was a press secretary to Barbara Bush and U.S. Congressman John Miller. Similarly, Charlie Sipkins, currently exec VP at Sony, began his career working for Rep. Martin Olvav Sabo in the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations.
“Dee Dee brings a creative and strategic mindset to communications and public positioning. Her engaging and collaborative demeanor paired with her acute understanding of how to engage constituencies will help us strengthen our position as the leading global studio. I look forward to her becoming an integral part of our strong executive team,” Tsujihara said in a statement.
Fleishman, who will depart the company immediately, said the following in a statement. “It was a great run at a wonderful company. I would like to thank everyone at Warner Bros., particularly my exceptional team, for making each day fun and rewarding.”
Myers will be relocating from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles.