Weintraub Out as UA Chief
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Jerry Weintraub is leaving United Artists Corp. after only five months at the helm of the newly independent company, UA confirmed.
UA executive committee chairman Stephen Silbert, who on Monday confirmed that Weintraub is leaving, would say only that he had ″philosophical differences with the executive committee.″ Silbert refused to comment on published reports of clashes between Weintraub and majority shareholder Kirk Kerkorian.
Anthony Thomopolous, who was brought aboard recently by Weintraub as president of UA’s motion picture and television groups, will stay on, Silbert said. ″We think very highly of him,″ Silbert said of Thomopolous.
Thomopolous was hired in December by Weintraub after he left ABC Broadcast Group in a shakeup following ABC’s takeover by Capital Cities Corp.
Weintraub and Kerkorian had differences over Weintraub’s liberal spending policy, sources close to the studio told the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.
Weintraub is the second head of a major studio to leave his job in the past week. Last Wednesday, Guy McElwaine announced his resignation as chairman and chief executive officer of Columbia Pictures motion picture division.
Last week’s industry trade papers reported McElwaine was expected to launch an independent production company with a multipicture contract to United Artists, in a deal struck with Weintraub, an old friend.
United Artists last week obtained a $200 million line of credit, thought to be targeted for acquisitions of future film and television productions.
Weintraub refused comment on the reports about a deal with McElwaine, and there was no word Monday on how Weintraub’s departure might affect the former Columbia chief.
There were no rumors about Weintraub’s possible departure, as there had been in the case of McElwaine.
He has paid Kerkorian $23 million for 2.5 million shares of UA stock, and owns 4.7 percent of the company.
Kerkorian owns 80 percent of UA, and hired Weintraub as chairman in mid- November.
United Artists was spun off as a separate entity when cable television entrepeneur Ted Turner bought MGM-UA Entertainment Co. from Kerkorian for $1.5 billion. As part of the deal, Kerkorian turned around and bought back United Artists from Turner for $470 million.