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MGM begins CEO search after Barber exit

US studio MGM is replacing CEO Gary Barber just five months after he signed a new contract.

The company’s board said it had “initiated a CEO transition” to find a new boss following Barber’s exit after eight years at the helm.

No specific reason was given for his exit, and a temporary Office of the CEO has been formed to oversee day-to-day operations while a replacement search in undertaken.

This office will report directly to the MGM board, which comprises well-known entertainment figures such as ex-Disney and Pixar exec Ann Mather, ex-CBS entertainment and Xbox Studios boss Nancy Tellem, and former Viacom and CBS exec Frederic Reynolds.

Under Barber’s tenure, MGM emerged from bankruptcy protection to restablish itself as one of the major film and television players in Hollywood.

As well as producing Fargo for FX and The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu, it also paid US$1 billion to become the sole owner of US premium cable network Epix last year.

Barber also sold off non-core international networks, and acquired control of Mark Burnett- and Hearst-owned reality producer One Three Media.

He had joined from Spyglass Entertainment in 2010, and was rewarded for creating a period of stability with a new five-year contract in October 2017.

“Over the past eight years, MGM has successfully built a world class company and talented team,” said Kevin Ulrich, chairman of the board of directors. “With this transformation complete, MGM is uniquely positioned for exceptional future growth in the evolving entertainment landscape.

“Now is the right time to enable the next generation of leadership who can help drive the creativity, collaboration and partnership needed to continue the company’s positive trajectory.

Ulrich, CEO of MGM shareholder Anchorage Capital Group, reportedly initiated Barber’s ousting. Neither party could be contacted for comment at press time.