Josh Berger, president and managing director of Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, is stepping down after 30 years with the studio.
Berger, who also serves as president of global franchise development for “Harry Potter,” will leave the studio in December, but is to stay on as an advisor to senior management until mid-2021 for the “Harry Potter” franchise.
Berger is also an executive producer on the third instalment of the “Fantastic Beasts” films, as well as the forthcoming documentary “Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History” for the BBC.
The executive is expected to continue producing as well as pursue other entrepreneurial ventures.
Gerhard Zeiler, head of international for WarnerMedia said: “Josh is one of the most respected people in the industry. He has been integral to the ongoing success of our Warner Bros. businesses in the U.K., Ireland and Spain, and has been an incredible steward to the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise. He was also the first Warner Bros. country manager, pioneering the model which shapes the international organization today. It is fair to say, that thanks to his leadership and energy our company is for sure better off today. I respect his desire to take on new challenges and, along with all of our colleagues across the company, wish him the very best.”
“There’s nothing more amazing than seeing stories being brought to life on screen,” said Berger. “Over the last 31 years at Warner Bros., I’ve been lucky to see every part of that process in action. I’ve seen ideas being formed and deals being struck, magic being made in front of the camera and behind it, and stories being told from – and sent to – all corners of the earth. I’m so grateful to all my colleagues for making this place feel like home for so long and wish them all the best for the future.”
With Berger’s tenure as British Film Institute (BFI) Chair also coming to an end in November, it would seem that the veteran executive is set for a fresh start. In August, he announced that he would step down from the role, after serving the maximum 10 years permissible in the position, as a Governor and Chair, under the BFI Royal Charter. He had been on the BFI Board from 2011 and became Chair in 2016.
Berger is one of the leading fixtures in the U.K.’s arts establishment. He is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Creative Industries Council and the British Screen Advisory Council. In addition he is a Council Member of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), a director of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the Chair Emeritus of Chickenshed Theater Trust. In 2012, he was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), one of the country’s highest recognitions, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the U.K.’s creative industries.
Berger’s first job in the entertainment business was working in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency in 1983. On a sabbatical year from college in 1986, he worked at Lorimar-Telepictures in New York, Los Angeles and London. During that period, he also worked for Reteitalia in Milan, the entertainment and television division of Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest.
He first joined Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. in 1989 as a Sales Executive for Warner Bros. International Television Distribution in Paris. He then served as managing director for Spain and Portugal and then relocated to London as vice president of business development and pay television for Europe.
Berger has also served as executive vice president & managing director, WBEU.K. and as senior vice president & managing director, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Warner Bros. International Television Distribution, overseeing the sales and marketing teams across five European offices.