Bob Weinstein to Leave Board of the Weinstein Company
Bob Weinstein, chairman of the near-dead film and television studio, will step down from the board on Friday, the company said, formalizing the end of his efforts to retain a significant role in the business as it tries to rebuild. Mr. Weinstein’s departure was expected. He founded the boutique studio in 2005 with his brother, Harvey, who was fired last year after dozens of women publicly accused him of sexual misconduct.
The Weinstein Company subsequently imploded, filing for bankruptcy and agreeing to sell itself to Lantern Capital Partners, a Dallas private equity firm, for $289 million. Lantern had initially agreed to pay $310 million, but won a reduced price after it argued that it had been misled about payments on contracts to vendors and filmmakers.
Harvey Weinstein was arrested in Manhattan in May on charges that he sexually assaulted two women. He was indicted this month on additional charges, one of which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and awaits trial. He has denied ever engaging in “non-consensual sex.”
Departing with Bob Weinstein on Friday — the day the sale to Lantern is expected to close — will be the board members Lance Maerov, an advertising executive; Tarak Ben Ammar, a Franco-Tunisian financier and film producer; and Frank Rainone, a producer and director with credits like “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” One board member will remain: Ivona Smith, a consultant at Drivetrain Advisors, which assists distressed companies.
The sale did not start out orderly. The tumultuous period included failed efforts to arrange for bridge financing; on-again, off-again plans to sell the company to an investor group that included the billionaire Ron Burkle, one of Harvey Weinstein’s former cronies; and a lawsuit filed by Eric T. Schneiderman, New York’s former attorney general. (Mr. Schneiderman himself resigned in May after four women accused him of physical assault; he has denied the accusations.)
As it prepares to take over the remnants of the Weinstein Company and use them to build a new entertainment company, Lantern this week began laying off staff members, including Kelly Hires, a well-regarded TV executive, and Alex Spatt, who worked in production and development. The Weinstein Company, which had roughly 150 employees in New York and Los Angeles a year ago, now has about 40.
Lantern said on Monday that it had brought on three “strategic advisers.” They are Lauren Zalaznick, who built Bravo into a juggernaut and previously served as an executive vice president at NBCUniversal; Steve Beeks, a former Lionsgate executive; and Alexa Platt, whose résumé includes senior finance jobs at AwesomenessTV and Open Road Films.