Time Warner Inc. promoted Kevin Tsujihara to run the Warner Bros. film and television studio, picking him over other internal candidates to tap his experience in the increasingly important digital-video market.
Tsujihara, the 48-year-old head of Time Warner’s home-entertainment unit, will become chief executive officer of the division on March 1, the New York-based company said today in a statement. He succeeds Barry Meyer, who will remain chairman through the end of the year,
The announcement resolves a more than two-year contest to succeed Meyer. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes set up a three-person office of the president in September 2010 that included Tsujihara; Jeff Robinov, head of motion pictures; and Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television. Tsujihara said his promotion over Rosenblum and Robinov won’t affect his ability to work closely with them.
“We’ve had a lot of civility on the management side,” Tsujihara said in an interview about the transition.
Tsujihara stressed the importance for Warner Bros. to maintain its close relationships with the filmmakers and television producers who have been a big part of the studio, citing people such as Clint Eastwood, Chuck Lorre and Ben Affleck, whose film “Argo” won the top award from the Screen Actors Guild last night.
“We celebrated with Ben just last night,” Tsujihara said. “People like him and Clint and everyone who’s done so many movies with us, they’re here not because of the money -- they’re here because of the Warner Bros. culture.”
Tsujihara, a graduate of Stanford University’s business school, has run the home-entertainment group since October 2005. In that job, he brokered the acquisition of Flixster, part of the company’s digital distribution strategy for its films and television programming. Tsujihara started working at Warner Bros. in 1994 and held various positions in its business development and corporate strategy group.
Rosenblum, head of the television group, expressed his dissatisfaction today with not getting the job.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed; who wouldn’t be?” Rosenblum said in an e-mailed statement. “Warner Bros. is a unique and special place and I know it will be in good hands with Kevin at the helm.”
Robinov called Tsujihara an “excellent choice” in a statement. “I am truly happy and proud of Kevin,” he said.
Time Warner, which also owns HBO and CNN, fell less than 1 percent to $50.09 at the close in New York. The shares climbed 32 percent last year.