Fox Film Chairman & CEO Tom Rothman Resigning From Position
Big news in the industry today, as 20th Century Fox Chairman and CEO Tom Rothman announced that he will be resigning from his position, effective January 1st, 2013. Rothman has been at Fox for over 18 years and announced his resignation in a letter sent to Fox employees earlier this afternoon. THR (via SlashFilm) reports that "all studio operations will be consolidated under studio co-chairman Jim Gianopulos," taking over solo. This is a fairly big "shakeup" in a sense, as most just weren't expecting this. Rothman has been a very prominent, perhaps infamous, leader at Fox, running the studio and developing successes and failures.
News Corp officially made the announcement (via Deadline, where they're flipping out), quoting parts of Tom Rothman's letter/memo sent to his staff announcing his departure. "During my time at Fox, thanks to you, we have together accomplished more than I ever imagined possible, from the founding and nurturing of Searchlight, to overseeing the two biggest films in box office history, to consistently ranking at the top among studio profitability year in and year out… I’m proud as hell of that run," Rothman says in his note. "But I’ve done the same thing, at the same place, for a long time… I do need some new challenges and to write a new chapter." What exactly will that be? Not many seem to know where he might be going next.
Here's remaining half of Tom Rothman's letter, which you can read in full on SlashFilm:
I love Fox and all of you and take comfort knowing that, although there is never a perfect time to leave, because the slate for the next several years is in awesome shape, this is at least a pretty good one. I know that Jim G. and all of you will continue our long tradition of winning ways, and I will be rooting hard for you. I will also be around until the end of the year to help with the transition and celebrate some of the hits we are about to have.
Finally, let me say, how eternally grateful I will always be for the privilege and the honor of having had this job, and above all else, working with you all – quite simply, the best, most talented, and the kindest colleagues in the world. If I can leave you with one thought, it’s this: for all these years, I have tried to do the job with, above all else, integrity. I think our company stands for doing what is right, even if that is not always easy, and for prizing honesty and forthrightness. I hope that you will carry that mission forward. As for me, a bunch of you guys know what the tattoo on my ankle says. It’s what I wish for us all: “Excelsior”!
Tom Rothman is the very well known Hollywood exec who ran 20th Century Fox since 2000, working to found Fox Searchlight before that. He became a bit infamous with his involvement on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and has worked to develop most of their big tentpoles in recent years, including hits like Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Avatar. The Wrap posted sourced speculation that Rothman "went after Ron Meyer’s job as head of Universal Studios, and ended up losing the job he has had for more than a decade." However, no reason was mentioned in any of the note, beyond "I’ve done the same thing, at the same place, for a long time" and "I do need some new challenges." Intriguing news nonetheless, for Hollywood and Fox.
The press release from News Corps' Rupert Murdoch and Chase Carey clarifies that "with a robust slate of upcoming films and Jim [Gianopulos’s] continued leadership, our film unit is well positioned for future growth and couldn’t be in better hands. We are confident that Jim’s stellar business and creative acumen will take our film business to new heights." They've already got The Wolverine and all of DreamWorks Animations' movies coming up. We'll have to watch closely and see if Fox can transition smoothly and how things progress (I don't foresee many problems) and where Rothman may end up next. Thoughts on this?