Why Are So Many High-Level Executives Ditching Hollywood During the Pandemic?


”This is a year that really does require everyone to ask questions about how they see the world, how they want to be spending their time,“ Sarah Barnett told TheWrap about her decision to leave AMC Networks

While the coronavirus pandemic and recent mergers have led to widespread layoffs throughout the entertainment and media industry, a number of high-level executives still in the prime of their careers at major Hollywood companies have voluntarily bowed out to regroup and rethink their futures.

Blair Rich, Warner Bros.’ powerful head of worldwide marketing, announced her departure earlier this month after 23 years at the studio; IFC Films Co-President Lisa Schwartz announced last week she was exiting at year’s end after a similarly lengthy tenure; Libby Geist and Connor Schell, two of ESPN’s most senior documentary programming executives, are leaving, with Schell planning to launch his own production company; AMC Networks President Sarah Barnett exited in July, after an 11-year run. And on Monday Walt Disney Television CFO and President of Business Operations Ravi Ajuha left to “seek a new adventure.”

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Beatrice Verhoeven, PWS

Beatrice Verhoeven

Film Editor, Twitter: @bverhoev

Sharon Waxman

Sharon Waxman, is the founder, CEO and Editor in Chief of TheWrap. She is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, and was a Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times. Twitter: @sharonwaxman