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Paramount Pictures announced Tuesday that Courtney D. Armstrong has been named president of business affairs and administration for the studio. In this role, Armstrong will oversee business and legal affairs for all of the studio’s live action and animation production divisions.
Armstrong also will lead the studio’s business development team, overseeing the analysis and evaluation of all new business opportunities for Paramount, but will work on the company’s strategic planning activities.
The move marks the latest shakeup in the studio’s executive suite since Brian Robbins, formerly the head of Nickelodeon at ViacomCBS replaced Jim Gianopulos as chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures in September. That move was followed by the exodus of film president Emma Watts and communications head Chris Petrikin.
Daria Cercek and Mike Ireland were upped to co-heads of Paramount Pictures’ Motion Picture Group in the wake of Emma Watts’ exit. Additionally, Nickelodeon’s Ramsey Naito replaced Mireille Soria as animation chief.
As part of the executive chess game, according to an internal memo from Paramount Pictures COO Andrew Gumpert obtained by TheWrap, Stephen Plum, executive vice president of business and legal affairs, and Jay Galston, executive president of strategic planning and business development, will also be leaving the company.
“Stephen and Jay have been critical strategic executives in both steering the company to profitability and building out our film slate, and their work on behalf of Paramount has been immensely impactful,” the memo read. “They have both been valued colleagues and leaders during their time here, and we thank them for their years of service and many positive contributions to the company.”
Said Gumpert in a statement, “Anyone who knows or works with Courtney can attest that his exemplary business and legal mind, as well as his standout leadership qualities, put him at the very top of his field. He will be a tremendous addition to Paramount, and we could not be more fortunate to have him on our team.”
Armstrong beings his new position effective Oct. 29 and will report to Gumpert.
Below is Gumpert’s memo in its entirety:
I am writing to let you know about some changes to our Motion Picture Business & Legal Affairs Group, as well as to our Business Development Group. I am thrilled to share that Courtney D. Armstrong will be joining the studio as President, Business Affairs and Administration, reporting to me. In this role, Courtney will not only oversee all of the studio’s business and legal affairs divisions, but also the studio’s business development group. In this capacity as the head of business development, he will not only oversee the analysis and evaluation of all new business opportunities for Paramount, but will work on the company’s strategic planning activities. He is a proven standout as both a leader and business and legal mind and will be a huge asset and addition to the company. Please join me in extending a very warm welcome to him.
I would also like to share that Senior Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs Stephen Plum and Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning & Business Development Jay Galston will be leaving the company. Stephen and Jay have been critical strategic executives in both steering the company to profitability and building out our film slate, and their work on behalf of Paramount has been immensely impactful. They have both been valued colleagues and leaders during their time here, and we thank them for their years of service and many positive contributions to the company.
Courtney joins us from Warner Bros. Pictures where he was an executive since 2003, most recently serving as executive vice president of worldwide business affairs. During his time at Warner Bros., he was instrumental in a number of critical and commercial successes including Wonder Woman, Dunkirk, The Dark Knight trilogy, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grinewald, The Lego Batman Movie, Justice League, Ready Player One, Ocean’s 8 and many others.
Prior to joining Warner Bros., Courtney was an attorney in the Business and Legal Affairs division of the Motion Picture Group at Walt Disney Pictures. Before that, he was a litigation associate on the entertainment litigation team at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walter, LLP.
He is a graduate from Northwestern University, as well as from Northwestern University School of Law and the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, from which he received his bachelor’s degree, juris doctor and master’s degree in business administration, respectively.
He is also a member of Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees, an executive committee board member of the Law Board at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, a member of the Executive Leadership Council, and a member of the executive branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Once again, please join me in welcoming Courtney and thanking Stephen and Jay.
All my best,