New Warner Bros. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara is wasting no time overhauling the movie and television studio and doing away with executive layers.
"Flatter and faster," is how one Warner Bros. senior executive described Tsujihara's structure.
Whereas previous Warner Bros. chief executive Barry Meyer preferred to have a few direct reports that were given wide latitude to run their units, Tsujihara's structure is more decentralized and will provide him with a ground floor view of the entire operation.
It will also mean Tsujihara will have a lot more direct reports than his predecessor.
For example, when Jeff Robinov was president of Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Group, distribution, marketing and production reported to him and he reported to Meyer.
With Robinov leaving, Tsujihara has put four movie executives on equal footing and all will report to him.
It is similar to the approach Tsujihara took with television after Bruce Rosenblum resigned from the presidency of the Warner Bros. TV Group. Rosenblum oversaw all aspects of the studio's TV business. Now, there are three executives holding the title of president and each reports to Tsujihara.
The challenge for Tsujihara's approach will be whether the people he has named president can coexist. If not, Tsujihara could end up spending much of his time playing referee instead of focusing on the bigger picture.
On the other hand, the exits of Robinov and Rosenblum was inevitable. Both had battled Tsujihara, who had previously run the studio's home entertainment unit, to succeed Meyer and there were hard feelings that probably weren't going away any time soon. The last thing a new CEO needs is to be second-guessed by the people he beat out for the job.
The drama of the bake-off at Warner Bros. and the aftermath that has led to two well-respected executives to leave is the opposite of the smooth change of leadership that took place over the last few years at HBO, another Time Warner unit.
There, three executives -- Richard Plepler, Eric Kessler and Michael Lombardo -- all had the title of president under chairman and chief executive Bill Nelson. When Nelson retired last year, Plepler was named his successor but Kessler and Lombardo remained in senior positions.
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