Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara Announces He Will Step Down

Warner Bros Entertainment Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara has made it known, this week, his plan to vacate his position.  This would end a tenure of roughly 25 years with the company, with 6 years in charge of the film and television production studio. 

Tsujihara’s departure, though, is part of a broader shift in leadership, at a time when WarnerMedia has transitioned ownership to AT&T.  Before he decided to leave, though, his responsibilities expanded to head of Turner Classic Movies, as well as the digitally-focused Otter Media: a new business unit which houses Warner Media’s kids and young adult content properties. 

While his contribution to the company have been quite admirable, of course, his departure also comes on the heels of a Hollywood Reporter expose, earlier this month, which detailed the text messages he sent to actress Charlotte Kirk.  Apparently, the two of them maintained a physical—even sexual—relationship, which the messages intimate that Kirk used to entice Tsujihara to help her land some film roles. 

Indeed, Kirk was eventually cast in two Warner Bros films—“How To Be Single” and “Ocean’s 8”—albeit, in small roles.  Tsujihara’s attorney, however, insists that he had no direct role in the casting of Kirk in either of these roles. 

In his defense, Tsujihara sent a memo to Warner Bros, explaining, “After lengthy introspection, and discussions with [WarnerMedia CEO] John Stankey over the past week, we have decided that it is in Warner Bros’ best interest that I step down as Chairman and CEO…The hard work of everyone within our organization is truly admirable, and I won’t let media attention on my past detract from all the great work the team is doing.”

And WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey agrees. He also says, “It is in the best interest of WarnerMedia, Warner Bros, our employees and our partners for Kevin to step down as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.” He also adds, “Kevin has contributed greatly to the studio’s success over the past 25 years and for that we thank him. Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the Company’s leadership expectations and could impact the Company’s ability to execute going forward.”

All that said, Warner Media has not announced who will replace Tsujihara.  Furthermore, they are still looking for a third-party law firm to complete the alleged misconduct investigation.