An interim leadership team will take the reins at Warner Bros. Entertainment following the shocking dismissal of CEO Kevin Tsujihara on Monday.
The team will likely consist of Warner Bros. motion pictures group chairman Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. television group president and CCO Peter Roth, and at least one other top executive, individuals familiar with the company told Variety. It appears likely that the leadership group will include at least one female executive.
WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey is currently heading from corporate headquarters in New York to Los Angeles and on Tuesday is expected to formally announce the interim leadership team, according to multiple sources. WarnerMedia had no immediate comment on leadership and as of right now there is no town hall meeting scheduled with the staff.
The interim team of executives will handle day-to-day operations until a replacement is found for Tsujihara, whose departure was announced on Monday morning by Stankey following accusations of sexual impropriety against the former entertainment chief. Tsujihara alleged used his position to secure auditions for Charlotte Kirk, an actress with whom he had a sexual relationship.
An eerie silence has blanketed the Burbank, Calif. lot, insiders said, as staff reels from Stankey’s swift decision. Some executives teared up over Tsujihara’s exit and are anxious about what a new leader will mean for their futures. Many had expected that Tsujihara would be able to survive the scandal and think that his ouster is a sign that AT&T, the telephone giant that bought Warner Bros.’ parent company Time Warner in 2018, has no tolerance for Tsujihara’s actions. Some felt that Time Warner, known for its “boys club” atmosphere, would have looked the other way. However, there was a growing sense that Tsujihara could not continue to head the company without his personal issues becoming a distraction.
Stankey, AT&T’s envoy to the entertainment business, and Tsujihara were also believed to have strong personal chemistry. They appeared comfortable and relaxed with one another at a town hall shortly after AT&T took the reins and at December’s “Aquaman” premiere and after-party in Hollywood.
Tsujihara began negotiating his exit last week, sources confirmed, and Stankey and Tsujihara reached out to top staffers over the weekend to prepare them for the news. Stankey is now said to be compiling a shortlist of potential replacements for Tsujihara that many believe includes former 20th Century Fox Film chairman Stacey Snider and possibly others with deeper digital backgrounds.
WarnerMedia will continues to investigate the events surrounding Tsujihara, which involve Kirk, a supporting player in “Ocean’s 8.” While she admitted to a consensual relationship with Tsujihara, Kirk denied she was at all victimized by the former CEO.
“Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the company’s leadership expectations and could impact the Company’s ability to execute going forward,” Stankey said in his statement.
Tsujihara had headed the studio since early 2013. He has been with Warner Bros. since 1994, starting out in business development and rising through the ranks in home entertainment.