Monday, March 6, 2017

Jeffrey Marches On

This is old news, but nevertheless ...

Jeffrey Katzenberg says he feels like he’s in his 20s again — starting a brand-new venture, WndrCo, built around media and technology.

The co-founder and former CEO of DreamWorks Animation, speaking at an event Thursday in New York hosted by Hearst, said it’s actually the sixth time he’s started over in his career, citing his CV at Paramount, Walt Disney Studios, DreamWorks SKG and DWA. “One of the things that has happened for me is that whatever came next was better than what I had before,” Katzenberg said. “You shouldn’t be fearful of starting over.” ...

Katzenberg noted that he had no intentions of selling DreamWorks Animation. He’d been planning to take the company private and sign on as CEO for another 10 years. “I felt passing the baton to Comcast, particularly them in this moment in time, was going to be better for [DWA’s employees], better for the company. ...

Truth out: Different industry execs told me a while ago that Mr. Katzenberg actually wanted to sell DWA for a lengthy period of time. But the economy swooned in '08, and there were no conglomerates who would meet his asking price, so it never happened.

My take? For Jeffrey, the journey was never about an undying love for animation. (Not that there's anything wrong with that).

J.K. likes animation well enough, but animation is (and was) beside the point. It's all about climbing, achieving, reaching the next level. Jeffrey pushed to be the new Frank Wells after Disney's #2 died in a copter crash, and Eisner (stupidly) said no. So Jeffrey partnered with some other big entertainment titans and made a success building a feature animation studio that later added a TV animation subsidy as well, and Comcast swooped in to buy the whole kit and kaboodle.

And whattayaknow? Mr. Katzenberg, who didn't want to sell the company, sold the company.

So now it's on to the next endeavor. Like Walt, Jeffrey has moved on from Cartoonland. Unlike Walt, he won't be keeping one foot in the biz, because animation isn't at the center of his being. Building the next company and scaling the next edifice is what drives him.

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