Michael Green has stepped down as executive chairman of Studio71, a digital content company that emerged from the former management company he co-founded, The Collective. He will remain on the company’s board.
An industry veteran with nearly 30 years experience including a founding role in another management company, The Firm, Green told Variety he felt the time was right to move on now that Studio71 is on solid footing.
“I saw my vision to fruition,” he said. “There are a lot of people who have represented the biggest talent. What there aren’t are a lot of people who can leverage that and pivot into a real asset-based business.”
“We have become a global media company for creators thanks in no small part to Michael’s willingness to place a huge bet on digital as the future of our industry,” said Reza Izad, CEO of Studio71. “We thank him for his leadership, his guts and his passion.”
Under Green, The Collective transitioned from being a music management company that included chart-topping clients Linkin Park, Slash and Godsmack to a digital studio that partnered with YouTube-based talent. Green launched The Collective in 2005 along with Sam Maydew and Jeff Golenberg, who split off into their own firm, Silver Lining Entertainment, in 2013.
One of the first multichannel networks, Collective Digital Studio claimed some of the most popular acts on YouTube, including Lucas Cruikshank, Annoying Orange and Epic Meal Time. The company was particularly adept at not only monetizing digital talent through the usual revenue streams of sponsorship and merchandise, but turning that intellectual property into TV shows.
In 2014, ProSiebenSat.1 bought a 20% stake in Collective Digital Studio, which was later rebranded Studio71. The German broadcaster upped its stake to 70% and other European media companies TF1 and Mediaset came on and took smaller stakes as well earlier this year.
Prior to his 12 years at the Collective, Green was a co-founder of The Firm, a leading management company that counted Backstreet Boys, Limp Bizkit and Korn among its clients. He sold his stake in the company in 2002.
No decision has been made yet as to refilling the chairman role. Green is currently weighing his next move, which he indicated would likely involve a role that returns him to his entrepreneurial roots. “I need to be nimble and move quickly,” he said. “As my colleagues at ProSieben were happy to agree with me on, that’s just not how it works in the big, public corporate world.”