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Amblin Partners’ Michael Wright Steps Down as CEO

Michael Wright is stepping down as chief executive officer of Amblin Partners and becoming executive producer of two of the company’s forthcoming films, the company said Tuesday.

Steven Spielberg, chairman of the company, will step into the CEO role after Wright’s exit. Wright oversaw films like “The Girl on the Train” and “A Dog’s Purpose” while at Amblin.

“I have always enjoyed working with Michael and the unique creative collaboration we’ve shared going back to his days at Turner Broadcasting,” Spielberg said in a statement. “I am very pleased to continue our relationship and that he is joining our upcoming projects, ‘The Talisman’ and ‘The Wand,’ as an executive producer. I also want to express my gratitude to Michael for helping us launch our company and creating a strong foundation to build on in the future.”

Jeff Small will remain president and co-chief executive. Holly Bario, president of production, will continue to be responsible for the company’s film development and production.

Wright’s departure as CEO comes prematurely. When Wright re-signed as CEO in February 2016, he was expected to stay on through 2020.

Still, his early exit comes as Amblin struggled to greenlight films, slowing its development pipeline. The feeling at the company was that its financial picture had improved enough to make a leadership change. Universal in February agreed to buy a minority stake in Amblin, joining a group of investors that includes Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment, Entertainment One, and Alibaba Pictures.

Wright previously served as CEO of DreamWorks Studios. Wright helped lead the formation of the new partnership and a new distribution deal with Universal Pictures. DreamWorks previously had its films released by Disney.

Wright’s background includes extensive experience in television. Prior to joining DreamWorks Studios in 2014, Wright was president and head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies. Prior to joining Turner, Wright served as V.P. of movies and miniseries for CBS Productions and CBS Entertainment.

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