Rob Friedman named CEO of Tang Media's new entertainment division
Rob Friedman, the former co-chair of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, has joined Tang Media Partners as chairman and CEO of a newly formed division, TMP Entertainment. In that role, Friedman will oversee all of TMP’s entertainment properties, including Open Road Films (which Tang has just acquired), IM Global and IM Global Television. Friedman will report to TMP chairman and CEO Donald Tang, who announced the hiring Tuesday.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, TMP completed a major round of funding earlier this year from a base of shareholders and partners, including China’s Tencent Holdings. Tang and his U.S. investors are the majority shareholders of TMP, the company has noted, protecting it from any restrictions China might put on foreign investments.
On Monday, Tang Media formally announced it is buying indie distributor Open Road from AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment Group and that Tom Ortenberg would continue as Open Road CEO. Ortenberg will now report to Friedman. The same day, in a surprise announcement, IM Global CEO Stuart Ford exited the foreign sales, financing and production company he founded in 2007 without explanation. However, it was suspected that he had clashed with Tang, whose Tang Media bought majority ownership in IM Global in June 2016.
Friedman, who stepped down from Lionsgate in September 2016, brings experience in distribution, marketing, production and foreign sales to the new post. He served as Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairman from 2012 to 2017 after Lionsgate acquired Summit Entertainment, where he had been co-chairman and CEO since 2007. Before that, Friedman served as vice chairman of the Paramount Motion Pictures Group. He began his career in the mailroom at Warner Bros. in 1970 and spent 27 years at that studio, where he ultimately served as president of worldwide advertising and publicity.
With its latest moves, Tang Media said it aims to create, develop, finance, produce, market and distribute movies, television and digital content in the U.S., China and internationally.
“In looking at our aspirations to become a global studio, there is no better person who can make this a reality than Rob Friedman,” Donald Tang said in a statement. “Rob is a storied and incredibly well-respected studio executive who shares TMP’s entrepreneurial passion and pursuit of excellence as we look at new ways to help the entertainment industry grow in the U.S. and abroad.”
“Donald’s forward-looking vision and overall acumen, coupled with the creative-driven legacies of both Open Road and IM Global, offer an unparalleled opportunity to build the next great global studio,” Friedman commented in the announcement. “I look forward to delving into the operational, creative and industry-wide work that will make TMP Entertainment’s path successful for creators and lucrative for shareholders alike.”—The Hollywood Reporter