William Bernstein has resigned as president of financially troubled Orion Pictures Corp. to become executive vice president of Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles.
Bernstein will report to Paramount Chairman Brandon Tartikoff. He will be responsible for the studio's business affairs, legal, finance and studio administration departments.
The Paramount job offer came to Bernstein through a mutual friend of his and Tartikoff, sources said. In a prepared statement, Tartikoff called Bernstein a "key component" of the Paramount team, which includes Barry London in marketing and distribution, John Goldwyn in production and Kerry McCluggage in television.
Bernstein's departure from Orion, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York late last year, has been rumored for weeks and follows the resignations of studio chief Marc Platt and others. The company's board of directors has tentatively approved a buyout offer from New Line Cinema, but sources say other suitors may emerge.
Some Orion executives had expected Bernstein to stay until Orion's financial house is in order. With the company since its founding in 1978, he was named president last year.
But Bernstein said he's done all he could. "I've spent almost a year working on the reorganization of the company. That's quite a long time."
Bernstein said Orion will announce his successor today.