CEO of the Berlin-based producer-distributor resigns after eight years in the role and “takes responsibility” for major losses in 2013.
Helge Sasse, the CEO of Germany’s Senator Entertainment, is to step down next month after more than eight years in the role.
Under his leadership, Senator Film Verleih released blockbusters such as The Reader, The King’s Speech and The Intouchables in German cinemas, of which the latter earned Senator $80m in 2012.
However, Sasse invested that money into acquisitions of titles such as Silver Linings Playbook, Side Effects and The Master, which did not meet expectations at the German box office. It saw the company record a net loss of $38m (€27.4m) in 2013 as revenues fell 47.1% to $37.5m (€27.1m).
Part of a major restructure will see British investment group Sapinda take majority control of Senator and refocus the group more on in-house productions and less on international acquisitions. This resulted in a $15m (€10.8m) write-down on film assets ahead of Sapinda’s buyout.
Announcing his resignation, Sasse said: “Senator Film is at a crossroads. 2013 did not live up to our expectations. I intend, after eight years of many wonderful highs and also lows, to take responsibility for this.
“We have already taken steps to implement a capital increase. Once this has been completed, I will clear the path for a change in leadership and new direction for the company.”
Dr. Andreas Pres, Senator’s board chairman, said: “Mr. Sasse deserves our greatest respect for his bold decision to assume responsibility for the events in 2013.
“The Supervisory Board would like to thank Mr. Sasse for his work over these many years and difficult phases. We will now focus our attention closely on the realignment of the company.”
Sasse will step down from his position as CEO on June 20. He will continue his close working relationship with the company as a producer.
Markus Maximilian Sturm will take over as sole member of the management board and its interim chairman effective June 21. However, plans are in place to appoint a second member to the management board in the near future.