Two weeks after being tapped for an expanded role in the new WarnerMedia corporate structure, and amid claims he had conducted a sexual relationship with an actress who wanted roles in studio movies and TV shows, the company has announced that Kevin Tsujihara is leaving his role as chairman and CEO of Warner Bros Entertainment.
Tsujihara joined Warner Bros. back in 1994 and took charge of the film and TV studio in 2013. After AT&T acquiring WarnerMedia, his role was expanded to include Turner Classic Movies, digital-focused Otter Media and a new business unit that includes Warner’s properties for kids and young adults.
He was the subject of an exposé in The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month, which described his text messages with actress Charlotte Kirk. The two were apparently in a sexual relationship, and the messages show Kirk asking for Tsujihara’s help with landing film roles.
She was eventually cast in two small parts in Warner Bros. films — “How to be Single” and “Ocean’s 8.” Tsujihara’s attorney, however, insists that he had “no direct role” in Kirk’s hiring on these films.
In a memo to send to Warner Bros. staff, Tsujihara said, “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.”
“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.,” said WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey in a press release. “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.”
The company also said that it continues to work with a third-party law firm to complete its investigation with Tsujihara’s cooperation, and in the meantime currently searching for Tsujihara’s replacement.