Updated, 1:11 p.m. PST
Bumble Ward has stepped down as executive vice president of publicity for 20th Century Fox's film marketing division, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. The studio is looking for a replacement.
The British publicity veteran (pictured left) with the evocative name left the studio Monday with roughly four months left on her 18-month contract.
Part of the issue had to do with a culture clash: Ward, who had worked independently for decades, struggled to fit into a massive studio structure, two other individuals familiar with her departure told TheWrap.
Ward is not the only member of Fox’s publicity team to recently leave the studio. Hilary Clark, executive vice president, international publicity at Fox Filmed Entertainment, quietly departed before Labor Day, TheWrap has learned.
They exit Fox at a time of transition for the studio. In September, many in the movie business were shocked when Tom Rothman stepped down as the chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, leaving Jim Gianopulos to take over as sole chairman and CEO.
“The timing was bad and the culture was in such shift,” an individual familiar with Ward's departure told TheWrap.
Ward was credited with exploiting social media in new and innovative ways. She encouraged filmmakers to use Twitter as a platform to promote Fox releases, for instance. However, she struggled to carve out a position in Fox's hierarchy and found herself on the firing line when films failed to connect with audiences.
A spokeswoman for Fox declined to comment to TheWrap on Ward's departure.
Ward was an unusual choice for Fox to begin with. She had in the 1990s been one of the most influential personal publicists in Hollywood, running her own marketing and communications firm, Bumble Ward & Associates, with A-list clients like Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino.
But at the turn of the century she very publicly retired to pursue a different lifestyle, she said at the time.
After closing Bumble Ward & Associates in 2005, Ward wrote a popular blog, Miss Whistle and advised clients on social media marketing.