Richard Fox is to step down from his position as executive vice president of Warner Bros. International after a 42-year career at the studio, it was announced Tuesday.
Fox has spent the last 25 years heading up Warner Bros.’ international operation, including its push into local-language production. Most recently he oversaw the launch of the studio’s Chinese operation in March after having relocated to Beijing at the beginning of 2016.
Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara said that Fox, who will leave his role this summer, had been “an incredible executive and ambassador for the company.” Tsujihara worked closely with Fox to develop international growth opportunities, with China the most recent focus.
“For more than 40 years, he has been at the forefront of our efforts to establish the studio as a global entertainment leader,” said Tsujihara. “I thank him for his many contributions to the company and join his Warner Bros. colleagues around the world in wishing him all the best.”
Fox was a driving force in developing the studio’s local-language film production activities. Since 1999, the company has produced, financed and distributed more than 600 films in more than 20 countries around the world. In 2015, Warner Bros. entered a joint venture agreement with China’s CMC (formerly known as China Media Capital) to develop and produce a slate of Chinese-language films under the banner Flagship Entertainment.
Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity”) saluted Fox’s understanding of both the art and the business of filmmaking. “His knowledge and experience in the global marketplace made him an asset on the local-language films I’ve made for Warner Bros.,” Cuaron said in a statement. “He may be retiring, but he’s not going to slow down.”
Li Ruigang, chairman of CMC, said Fox was a great partner and a key architect in the founding of Flagship Entertainment and in developing the relationship between Warner Bros. and CMC. “His expertise and experience in the global entertainment business have been invaluable as our companies explore various opportunities to work together,” Li said.
Fox joined Warner Bros. in 1975 as a management trainee in Australia and Japan, becoming managing director of Columbia-Warner Distribution in New Zealand within two years and managing director of Warner Bros. in Tokyo, covering Japan and Korea, within three. He returned to the U.S. in 1981, joining the office of the president of Warner Bros. Pictures’ international theatrical distribution division, and a year later was named vice president of sales.
He was later promoted to executive vice president and became president of the division in 1985, a post he held for seven years until taking on his current role. During his tenure, he was instrumental in introducing the country-manager structure to help the company optimize its profitability and collaboration across its divisions in key overseas territories.