Rooster Teeth, the studio behind popular internet entertainment such as Achievement Hunter, Red vs Blue, and RWBY, has announced several high-level management shake-ups just weeks after the studio laid off 13% of their staff as part of a recent restructuring.
On September 24th, Rooster Teeth announced that Jordan Levin, former CEO of Awesomeness TV and The WB, would be the studio’s new general manager. Levin has had a storied career, having helped develop popular shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville and becoming the youngest CEO in broadcast television history during his time at The WB, later joining the National Football League as their Chief Content Officer and overseeing programs such as Good Morning Football and the annual Super Bowl halftime performances, before most recently joining Awesomeness as CEO before eventually overseeing the sale of the company to Viacom.
In a statement regarding the announcement of his position as CEO, Levin praised the work done by the studio’s founders in establishing a popular entertainment brand and feels “thrilled” for the opportunity to lead Rooster Teeth:
“Over the past 16 years, Matt, Burnie, Geoff and Gus [Sorola] have built a world class entertainment company amidst a turbulent marketplace engaging a fervent community of fans through a diverse portfolio of successful, entrepreneurial businesses. I’m fortunate to have gotten to know them over the years and thrilled for the opportunity to join them going forward to lead this unique media brand with the full support of my friends at WarnerMedia. I’m grateful to be returning to both Austin, which has been my family’s second home, as well as the WarnerMedia family, to realize Rooster Teeth’s ambitions of producing more content in more places to reach and expand its community wherever they are and will be.”
Levin will report to Tom Pickett, the CEO of Rooster Teeth’s parent company Otter Media, who stated that “Today’s announcements are a reflection of our commitment and confidence in Rooster Teeth:”
“Today’s announcements are a reflection of our commitment and confidence in Rooster Teeth and its value inside the WarnerMedia portfolio. “With Jordan at the helm, the founders are enabled to focus on the creative pipeline and expand on the market-leading franchises Rooster Teeth is known for.”
Matt Hullum, the now-former CEO of Rooster Teeth, will be stepping down and taking a new position as Chief Content Officer. Following the announcement of his departure from the position of CEO, Hullum released a statement stating that “Leading Rooster Teeth has been one of the greatest privileges of my life”:
“Leading Rooster Teeth has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. Despite an ever-changing industry and an ongoing series of acquisitions and integrations, we managed to grow the company to more than ten times the size it was when I began as CEO just over seven years ago. It’s been an incredible ride, and now I’m beyond excited to be returning to the creative work that inspired me to want to co-found Rooster Teeth in the first place. As we look to our future, I am excited to take our content to the next level, and I am confident that Jordan will lead us to heights that we never dreamed possible.”
Hullum’s departure is one of many positional changes being implemented, as multiple executives and co-founders have been moved to new, more creative roles as a result of the studio’s restructuring:
- Co-Founder Geoff Ramsey will take on an expanded role as an executive creator director
- Co-Founder Burnie Burns, previously the studio’s Chief Creative Officer, will be undertaking a new role as an executive producer.
- SVP of Partnerships and Strategy Luis Medina will now oversee operations and partnerships related to the studio’s digital content, such as Achievement Hunter and Funhaus.
- Former Head of Live Action Doreen Copeland will serve as VP, Head of Production Operations.
- Now-former Director of Social and Community Marketing Barbara Dunkelman will shift from to a new position as the Creative Director for Rooster Teeth’s Direct Comedic Content, such as RT Shorts and RT Life.
Rooster Teeth’s major restructuring effort comes just two weeks after the studio cut 13% of its staff, with an e-mail sent by Hullum citing “upcoming opportunities and challenges” that required the studio to “[adjust] their teams to meet the needs of our future”:
“Hello everyone –
Today has been a tough day at Rooster Teeth, and is unlike any other moment of organizational change we have experienced together. As we looked ahead at all of our upcoming opportunities and challenges, we had to make some difficult decisions about how we are organized. Unfortunately, this meant that earlier today we reduced the size of our team by approximately 13% overall. This decision is not reflective of anyone’s individual performance, and we’re thankful for all that our former colleagues have contributed. We will be doing everything we can to ease their transition, including helping them find their next opportunities.
As discussed during your department meetings, our managers have adjusted their teams to meet the needs of our future. Our industry is evolving rapidly, and we have to evolve with it if we want to succeed. As we begin a new chapter, we have the opportunity to focus on what we do best: creating great content for our community and partners, supported by key lines of business including advertising, distribution, memberships, events, and e-commerce.
We’ve accomplished a lot this year already: gen:LOCK and Immersion have both debuted successfully on TV, we’ve announced new content partnerships with DC, HBO Max and others, and we continue to produce the amazing programming that brings joy to our community every single day.
We can look forward to more success along this path: continuing to grow our relationships within the WarnerMedia family and beyond, and finding new platforms where we can continue our pioneering creative work in gaming, animation, and comedy.
With many teams moving to new office space tomorrow, we will meet briefly on Monday to discuss these changes further. I look forward to seeing you, as I always find renewed confidence, optimism, and excitement in our mission when we come together as a team.
Finally, I want to wish all our former co-workers the very best. We’re thankful for the passion and creativity that they brought to Rooster Teeth, and grateful for the friendships we’ve formed. I have been fortunate to work closely with many of those leaving today, and I’m sad to say goodbye, but also incredibly proud of what we accomplished together.”
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