LOS ANGELES • Warner Bros studios chief Kevin Tsujihara, who has been dogged for weeks by reports of an affair with a young British actress he allegedly helped secure roles, is set to step down, the WarnerMedia group said on Monday.
"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," WarnerMedia chief executive officer John Stankey said in a statement.
"Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the company's leadership expectations and could impact the company's ability to execute going forward," he said, without explicitly referring to media reports that the married 54-year-old studio head had an affair with 26-year-old actress Charlotte Kirk in 2013.
The studio boss tried to use his clout to get the young actress roles, although without much apparent success, as she had only minor parts in two Warner movies, How To Be Single (2016) and Ocean's 8 (2018), according to reports in the Hollywood press.
Mr Tsujihara's lawyers have denied that he intervened in casting decisions for the films.
Warner launched an internal investigation into the reports, but has not yet named a replacement for Mr Tsujihara, who had recently taken on more responsibilities after a sweeping reorganisation of the company previously known as Time-Warner following its takeover by telecoms giant AT&T.
"It has become clear that my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company's continued success," Mr Tsujihara said in an e-mail to employees on Monday.
"The hard work of everyone within our organisation is truly admirable and I won't let media attention on my past detract from all the great work the team is doing."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS