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2 Weinstein Senior Execs Move to ID in PR Overhaul (updated)

Weinstein says following Dani Weinstein and Sara Serlen’s departures studio will farm out publicity to other firms

id prUpdated: Thursday, 12:24 p.m.:

Weinstein Co. publicity executives Dani Weinstein and Sara Serlen have joined public relations firm ID as senior vice president and vice president, respectively, ID said Thursday.

Weinstein will lead ID's film department from the New York office. Both Weinstein and Serlen will work on film release campaigns and represent Weinstein Co. titles.

David Glasser, head of the Weinstein Company's international division, told TheWrap that the exits were part of a larger strategy at the company, which is opting to farm out various elements of its public-relations business to several big ticket publicists and PR firms.

They are not, Glasser said, a money-saving gambit. The new moves, he said, actually will cost the company nearly triple what it is spending on the senior executives' salaries.

"This is just saying that times are changing, and that we have such a diversified slate, that we need to find five or six agencies to focus on different pieces of our business," Glasser said. "We've assembled a dream team."

In addition to hiring ID to handle the roll out of its various pictures Weinstein announced its new slate of corporate spokespeople.  Lisa Taback will oversee the Oscar campaigns; Nadia Bronson will head up the Golden Globe race; BWR is tasked with corporate strategy; and Donna Daniels has been assigned to place long lead stories.

Weinstein will shrink its in-house team to 5 or 6 mid-level staffers who will be based in New York or Los Angeles.

The company said its decision was analogous to Disney's recent hire of Valerie Van Galder to handle publicity on "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" instead of relying on the studio's publicity team run by M.T. Carney.

The Weinstein Co. wiped out roughly $450 million in debt this summer through deals with insurance company Ambac and Goldman Sachs. In that transaction, much of the debt was exchanged for the rights to about 200 Weinstein Company movies. The studio is trying to recapture its standing with a series of award-bait films such as "The King's Speech" and "Blue Valentine" due out this year.

In addition to the Weinstein and Serlen hires, ID has promoted veteran publicists Carrie Byalick, Jodi Gottlieb and BeBe Lerner to senior vice presidents, and recently added Randi Peck as VP in entertainment and brand strategies, and Rhett Usry as senior publicist with a concentration in music and talent.
“Today’s news allows us to continue to expand and develop our capabilities, as well as reinforce our commitment to our clients, colleagues and the team at large,” Bush said. “We’re very excited about the future.”