Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara Exits Company In Wake Of Scandal

After six years leading the company, Kevin Tsujihara is out as the chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey released a statement today explaining the decision: "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. 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."

Get more details below.

Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter published an article detailing how Tsujihara was caught up in a scandal involving an actress named Charlotte Kirk. The piece included texts between the two which indicated that they'd been having sex, and that Kirk wanted Tsujihara to use his position at the studio to secure auditions for her. He reportedly set up meetings between Kirk and studio executives, and she ended up getting small roles in two WB movies over the past few years: How to Be Single and Ocean's 8. An independent investigation into Tsujihara's conduct is still ongoing. (Because that wasn't bad enough on its own, director and accused sexual harasser Brett Ratner was also involved in this whole scheme. You can read the full story here.)

Tsujihara's tenure as CEO of WB has been something of a mixed bag. He started his career by creating a tax preparation company called QuickTax, Inc., so he's been a numbers guy from the very beginning. When he joined WB in the mid-90s, he helped manage the company's Six Flags theme parks, and eventually moved all the way up to become the fifth CEO of the company in its nearly-100-year history and the first Asian American person to lead a major studio. But he never had any hands-on experience producing films or television shows. Under his leadership, WB produced a few billion dollar hits but also bungled some high-profile properties, including the DC Extended Universe and the Harry Potter spin-offs.

This all comes at a turbulent time for Warner Bros. Last year, the studio and its parent company, Time Warner, were just acquired by AT&T, and the ripple effects of that acquisition are just starting to be felt. Tsujihara was just given more responsibilities by the new AT&T bosses only days before this scandal broke, so they probably aren't thrilled with being made to look foolish in such a public way. A few days ago, Tsujihara apologized to employees in an e-mail, saying in part:

"I deeply regret that I have made mistakes in my personal life that have caused pain and embarrassment to the people I love the most. I also deeply regret that these personal actions have caused embarrassment to the company and to all of you."

No successor has been appointed yet.