Stuart Ford, the founder and CEO of independent producer distributor IM Global, was forced out of the company Friday after a dispute about its direction with parent Tang Media Partners, according to multiple media reports.
Tang acquired IM Global for $200 million in 2016, making Ford’s abrupt departure over a disconnect with Tang a stunningly fast reversal in that partnership. According to multiple reports, the founder’s exit was acrimonious, stemming from a deep-rooted disagreement over the future plans for the company. Tang acquired “Spotlight” distributor Open Road Films earlier Monday for an undisclosed price, a move Ford was said to have opposed.
Under Ford’s leadership, IM Global has had some notable success on the film front, including last year’s critically acclaimed Mel Gibson war drama “Hacksaw Ridge.” The company is currently in production on “Serenity,” a thriller starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, Johnny Depp-headlined comedy-drama “Richard Says Goodbye,” and Viggo Mortensen thriller “Unabomb.”
Ford, a former entertainment lawyer and Miramax executive, founded IM Global in 2007 to capitalize on the growing international film market. IM Global has distributed more than 1,000 Hollywood films internationally, has financed and produced more than 30 movies and controls a library of more than 600 films. The company has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Munich, Mumbai, Mexico City, Beijing and Shanghai.
A Tang Media representative declined to comment. An IM Global representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.