Harry Sloan Out at MGM, Replaced by Three-Headed CEO Hydra
Harry Sloan, the embattled CEO whose four-year stewardship of MGM oversaw a greater management of debt than anything resembling a consistent film slate, was removed from his post Monday night by the studio's board of directors. Replacing him as the collective "office of CEO" will be a cluster of studio brass including president Mary Parent, CFO Bedi Singh, and vice-chairman Stephen Cooper -- a crisis-management superstar who previously had a hand in restructuring Enron. Impressive! But can he tame a lion?
Nikki Finke broke the news this afternoon with the official release naming Sloan's replacements, who are charged with reducing MGM's debilitating $3.7 billion in debt and -- in a perfect world -- actually producing and releasing films once again. The studio's last major opening was the United Artists effort Valkyrie, which, once the press came around, wasn't quite the industrial-strength bomb initially feared. It has Fame, Poltergeist, Red Dawn, Hot Tub Time Machine and other trifles on the way, meanwhile, mere blips in the scheme of the drama around it -- including money owed to more than 100 creditors, some of which comes due as early as next year.
Parent reportedly could have walked away from the company after Sloan's departure with her contract paid off, but she has a slate coming together and apparent faith that her new regime can turn things around. Cooper will provide much of the structure to do so, having worked similar miracles with the devastated shells of Enron and Krispy Kreme since 2002. He starts immediately, with a new business plan in the works and his reputation preceding him as MGM faces off with the banks. Expect the deep library, already leveraged to the hilt, to come into play sooner or later; if you've ever wanted to know how Wall Street might might repackage the James Bond catalog for the recession generation, you may just get a chance to see.