Summit layoffs as Lions Gate merger continues
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Summit Entertainment’s longtime head of home entertainment, Steve Nickerson, has been laid off as the merger of the independent studio with Lions Gate Entertainment’s motion picture group claims casualties on both sides.
Nickerson’s departure means that Lions Gate President Steve Beeks will run the home entertainment business for the combined companies.
Lions Gate acquired Summit in late January. Since then, Summit chiefs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger have been named co-chairmen of Lions Gate’s motion picture group, replacing former chairman Joe Drake. In addition, Summit’s president of production, Erik Feig, has taken the same title at Lions Gate, replacing Alli Shearmur.
Beeks is the first senior Lions Gate executive chosen over a Summit executive as the company continues to put together its management team post-acquisition. Still to be determined is who will run the combined entity’s marketing and theatrical distribution units.
Nickerson has led Summit’s home entertainment unit since 2007, after working for seven years at Warner Bros. Bobby Gerber, Nickerson’s top deputy, and Alex Fragen, who headed sales of Summit’s movies to domestic television networks, also lost their jobs, according to a person familiar with the matter not authorized to speak about it publicly. The trio’s departure was first reported by Variety.
Once Lions Gate finalizes the executive team in its motion picture department, some layoffs of lower-level staffers are expected in some divisions, including home entertainment and marketing.
-- Ben Fritz