Leg­endary CEO shown the door

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By AMY HE in New York amyhe@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Thomas Tull, founder and CEO of Leg­endary En­ter­tain­ment, will be leav­ing the Hol­ly­wood stu­dio, re­port­edly due to pres­sure from Dalian Wanda Group.

Jack Gao, Wanda’s CEO and se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ments and oper­a­tions, will man­age Leg­endary while it seeks a new CEO, ac­cord­ing to the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter, which first re­ported the de­par­ture. bil­lion in early 2016, mak­ing it the largest Chi­nese ac­qui­si­tion of a US movie stu­dio and mark­ing the first con­crete step in Wanda’s am­bi­tions to grow in Hol­ly­wood.

Wanda had pre­vi­ously pur­chased a ma­jor­ity stake in movie chain AMC En­ter­tain­ment, but Leg­endary was the com­pany’s first stu­dio pur­chase.

Tull’s de­par­ture comes as no sur­prise to those in the in­dus­try, with many cit­ing that new own­er­ship of­ten leads to ex­ec­u­tive de­par­tures from the com­pany that was ac­quired.

“Thomas is a man who cre­ates and has been enor­mously suc­cess­ful,” said Marc Ga­nis, co-founder of Ji­aflix, an Amer­i­can dis­tri­bu­tion com­pany that works in China. “He’s also a per­son who’s been in con­trol of this com­pany, right from the out­set. Peo­ple who do that — as a gen­eral rule, not just Thomas — don’t gen­er­ally last very long work­ing for oth­ers.

“Tull was in to­tal con­trol. When the per­son in to­tal con­trol, who’s had suc­cess, goes and fundraises, it’s an eas­ier process. When you’re fundrais­ing and you don’t have that same con­trol, and you can’t make those same as­sur­ances, it be­comes more chal­leng­ing,” he said.

Christo­pher Spicer, an en­ter­tain­ment lawyer with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, said that “Thomas Tull has a lot of other ex­cit­ing com­pa­nies to build in the dig­i­tal space” and will not be lack­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties af­ter his exit from Leg­endary.

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