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20th Century Fox Chairman & CEO Tom Rothman Steps Down
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Former Fox Film CEO and Chairman Tom Rothman

As the CEO and Chairman for Fox Films, Tom Rothman was one of the few that set the standard for film distribution. Now only did he find major blockbusters, but he also saw the potential in smaller indie films, and as a result was one of those who was responsible setting up Fox’s indie distributor Fox Searchlight. But today that comes to an end as Rothman is now stepping down from his post as Chairman and CEO of the major movie studio.

THR was the first to report on the very surprising news. As far as we know, there weren’t any power struggles within the organization that could have sparked Rothman’s resignation, so his sudden departure comes as a huge surprise in the industry. According to THR, “all studio operations will be consolidated under studio co-chairman Jim Gianopulos.”

Even though Fox has had a few box office bombs in the past, Rothman saw to it that Fox remained one of the top studios in the movie industry. In addition to Fox Searchlight, Rothman helped develop Fox’s animation department by creating a healthy partnership with Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age Franchise and Rio).

Here is the first portion of the letter that Rothman sent out to his fellow employees about his resignation. You can read the full letter over at /Film.

I have decided that, after more than 18 years — the bulk of my adult working life — I am resigning as Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, effective January 1, 2013. 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 (including our most recent strong fiscal year), and, most of all, making dozens of exceptional films that I believe will stand the test of time. I’m proud as hell of that run. But I’ve done the same thing, at the same place, for a long time (indeed, in the 75 year history of our studio, no one has supervised movies for longer except Darryl Zanuck himself). I do need some new challenges and to write a new chapter.

Moments later, NewsCorp, which owns 20th Century Fox, sent out a press release, which outlines some of the changes that the studio will go through.

In conjunction with Rothman’s departure, News Corporation announced a reorganization of its studio operations that separates the film and television production units. As a result, the film business will now assume the name Twentieth Century Fox Film, and is comprised of Twentieth Century Fox Film, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000, Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios, Fox International Productions, and Fox Home Entertainment.

Twentieth Century Fox Television, which also includes Fox Television Studios and Fox 21, is now an autonomous business unit within News Corporation, and will no longer be combined with the company’s film operations. Accordingly, current Co-Chairs Dana Walden and Gary Newman will now report directly to Chase Carey, News Corporation’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

[Source: THR via /Film]

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Topics: Movies, News
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