Warner Bros. worldwide marketing and international distribution chief Sue Kroll will take over domestic oversight duties when the studio’s veteran distribution chief Dan Fellman exits at the end of the year, the studio said Wednesday.
Kroll will become president of worldwide distribution, adding North America to her portfolio. International distribution chief Veronika Kwan Vandenberg will take over Fellman’s day-to-day responsibilities, continuing to report to Kroll. Her title will be president of domestic and international distribution.
The moves consolidate the studio’s domestic and international film distribution into a global function and were announced Wednesday by Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros., to whom Kroll will report.
“Entertainment is a global business, and combining domestic and international film distribution is the logical evolution of our operations,” said Tsujihara.
Warner Bros. has topped $1 billion at the domestic box office for 15 consecutive years under Fellman, who joined the studio in 1978. Along with Universal’s Nikki Rocco, who stepped down last year, he was a pioneer in the expansion of the movie releasing calendar.
The studio broke records with its October 2013 rollout of “Gravity” and its January wide release of “American Sniper.” It was the first time those months had seen blockbusters at the box office.
During Fellman’s career at WB, he oversaw the release of numerous blockbusters, including “The Dark Knight” trilogy, the Harry Potter series, the “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” films, as well as Oscar Best Picture winners “Million Dollar Baby” and “The Departed.”
He is a governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and is on the board of Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneer Foundation.
“While Dan’s role was to run domestic distribution for Warner Bros., he really helped shape and lead the entire theatrical distribution business,” said Tsujihara. “It goes without saying he’s been an invaluable asset to the company, and he’s also been incredibly important and helpful to me personally. A couple of years ago, I asked him to stay on to help me–and Warner Bros.–through the executive transition. He graciously agreed, and now we’re at a place where we both feel the time is right to make this change. We will miss him greatly.”
Bob Daly and Terry Semel, former chairmen and co-CEOs of Warner Bros., said Fellman challenged business models, introduced new thinking to the field and delivered record-breaking results for the company year after year.
“He is affectionately –and deservedly–known as the godfather of distribution,” they said.