Burbank, CA and Newark, N.J., April 5, 2006 – IDT Entertainment is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris McGurk to the newly created post of Senior Advisor, New Ventures. Mr. McGurk’s longtime career in the entertainment industry includes stints atop MGM, Universal Pictures, and the Walt Disney Company Motion Picture Group. In his position as senior advisor, Mr. McGurk will focus his industry experience on leveraging IDT Entertainment’s assets to build a new live action theatrical production and distribution arm. He will report to IDT Entertainment CEO Morris Berger and will work closely with the company’s roster of senior executives to maximize current productions across all platforms and to identify and propose potential new ventures. IDT Entertainment is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT, IDT.C), an international telecom, entertainment and technology company.
“In putting together our executive team we look for multi-dimensional thinkers who can lead our company with the wisdom of experience and the passion of an entrepreneur,” says Stephen R. Brown, IDT Entertainment Chairman. “Chris McGurk is obviously one of those unique individuals. He has been a driving force of the entertainment industry’s major new developments of the past two decades. That kind of innovative thinking is perfectly in sync with IDT Entertainment’s ‘outside the box’ philosophy and we’re thrilled to have him on board.”
“IDT Entertainment has assembled an impressive executive team and has acquired a group of core entertainment assets that bodes well for the future,” says Mr. McGurk. “I very much look forward to helping the company build from that outstanding base. Our goal, in both the content and distribution arenas, is to become a fully integrated media company uniquely positioned for ongoing success in the digital age.”
“Chris McGurk is one of the most gifted and accomplished executives in the entertainment industry,” says IDT Entertainment CEO Morris Berger. “In essence, he will act as our own ‘entrepreneur-in-residence.’ He’s a tremendous addition to our roster of esteemed industry executives and we’re thrilled that he will bring his business vision, comprehensive knowledge, and peerless contacts to IDT Entertainment. With his arrival and the business lines he will pursue we are poised to become a more complete studio.”
As Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of MGM from 1999 to Spring of 2005, Mr. McGurk had responsibility for all corporate functions and operating divisions of the company including the studio’s film and television production and distribution units, all global home entertainment, consumer products merchandising, music, networks and interactive groups, and all financial, legal and human resources functions.
Among the films under Mr. McGurk’s guidance while heading MGM were Hannibal, Legally Blonde, The World Is Not Enough, the Barbershop franchise and Die Another Day, the most successful Bond release ever.
The Academy Award™ winners No Man’s Land and Bowling for Columbine were developed and produced under his auspices and he guided the development of Hotel Rwanda, which was nominated for three Academy Awards. Capote, nominated for five Academy Awards and this year’s winner for “Outstanding Lead Actor,” was developed and produced during Mr. McGurk’s tenure.
Mr. McGurk was President and Chief Operating Officer at Universal from late 1996 to1999. He was responsible for all operating and planning activities for the Motion Picture Group, as well as all international operations, worldwide home entertainment, exhibition (UCI and Loew’s Cineplex), October Films and Polygram Filmed Entertainment.
Prior to his tenure at Universal, Mr. McGurk spent eight years at The Walt Disney Studios (1988-1996), including a two year stint as President of the company’s Motion Picture Group. In this role, he oversaw all business and operating activities including international theatrical distribution, film acquisitions, Miramax Films, Hollywood Records, and Disney live theatrical productions.
Before Disney, Mr. McGurk held key posts in finance, sales, marketing and planning at Pepsico, Inc. before advancing to Chief Financial Officer of Pepsi Cola East.
Mr. McGurk is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and serves on its Executive Branch Committee and is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He serves on numerous industry-related and charitable organizations. Mr. McGurk and his wife Jamie received the H.E.L.P. Group’s “Spirit of Hope Award” in 2002 and its “Leader of Vision” award in 2003. Mr. McGurk holds a B.S. degree, summa cum laude, from the Syracuse University School of Management and a M.B.A. degree from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Mr. McGurk will be based in IDT Entertainment’s new West Coast headquarters in Burbank.
IDT Entertainment is a vertically integrated entertainment company that develops, produces, and distributes proprietary and licensed entertainment content. Its first CG animated feature film, Everyone’s Hero, with a voice cast led by Whoopi Goldberg, Rob Reiner, Brian Dennehy, William H. Macy, Raven Symone, and Mandy Patinkin, will premiere on September 15 through its multi-picture distribution deal with Twentieth Century Fox.
Important Note: In this press release, all statements that are not purely about historical facts, including, but not limited to, those with the words “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “plan,” “intend,” “estimate, “target” and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. While these forward-looking statements represent IDT’s current judgment of what may happen in the future, actual results may differ materially from the results expressed or implied by these statements due to numerous important factors, including, but not limited to, those described in IDT’s most recent report on SEC Form 10-K (under the heading “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”), which may be revised or supplemented in subsequent reports on SEC Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings IDT may make with the SEC.