Jeff Robinov has been missing in action for the past week on the Warner Bros. lot, according to multiple individuals with knowledge of the situation.
He is expected to leave the company and has been talking to Fox about a possible top job at that studio, two individuals told TheWrap.
"He's not coming back," said one of the individuals. "He's either quitting or just not showing up."
Marketing chief Sue Kroll, distribution chief Dan Fellman and production head Greg Silverman are expected to continue in their respective roles at the studio, though Kroll has been promised oversight over distribution after Fellman retires.
Fox had no comment for this story. Executives at Warner Bros. were blindsided by a media report that Robinov was leaving.
Robinov did not respond to several attempts to be reached.
Robinov lost the top job of running the company several months ago to Kevin Tsujihara. According to a knowledgeable executive, Robinov has been agitating since then to renew his contract, which is up at the end of the year, and has been "trying to force Kevin's hand."
But the timing is unusual. His exit comes in the wake of "Man of Steel's" monster opening at the box office to $135 million. It is the second major defection at the studio formerly known for its stability: Bruce Rosenblum, the third exec in the bake-off for the top spot, already quit the company and this week landed at its partner Legendary Entertainment.
Two individuals said that Robinov had been talking to Fox about a position there. Tom Rothman, who cochaired the studio with Jim Gianopulos, resigned last September. Robinov, who has strong relationships with directors like Chris Nolan and Zack Snyder, could play the role of creative partner.
Robinov has run the group since 2007, shepherding the production and release of franchises like "The Dark Knight," "The Hangover" and the final "Harry Potter" films. The studio ranked near the top of box office market share every year under Robinov's leadership.
It also took home the Best Picture Oscar last year for "Argo."
Reports have surfaced over the past few months alleging that Robinov was unhappy and let bosses like former chief Barry Meyer and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes know. The corporate chiefs were not impressed.
"This is a negotiation ploy," said one knowledgeable executive. "He's not been told he's being re-upped, he's not been told anything. Time Warner doesn't coddle executives."
Robinov began his career as an agent before joining Warner Bros. in 1997 as the SVP of Production. He later became president of production before taking over the whole film studio.
- Arts & Entertainment