MCA, moving swiftly to fill the post vacated this week by Frank Price, announced Thursday that entertainment attorney Thomas P. Pollock will become chairman of its motion picture group.
Pollock, 43, said he will relinquish his law practice and begin work at the studio on Oct. 15.
Despite Pollock's lack of studio experience, a number of executives at MCA and other studios praised the selection. "He's very smart; he's respected and liked. . . . He has good relationships with (talent) agents," a rival studio executive said.
In a telephone interview, Pollock said he has declined similar jobs at other studios four or five times in the past but was attracted to the MCA job in part because of its rich assets, ranging from publishing to recorded music and toy manufacturing.
Pollock said he expects to create a "collegial" atmosphere, both within his division and with other units, in part because of his existing friendships with MCA Records and Music Group President Irving Azoff and Stanley Newman, president of MCA's consumer products group.
Although some industry executives had speculated that MCA might promote motion picture production president Sean Daniel to the top post, Daniel insisted Thursday that he couldn't "be happier."
"We have been friends, and he has represented me, for 10 years," Daniel said.
Price, who resigned Monday apparently because of long-running differences with MCA President Sidney J. Sheinberg, has not announced his plans.
Pollock said he has not decided whether he will occupy Price's office, located a few feet from the offices of Sheinberg and MCA Chairman and Chief Executive Lew Wasserman.
"I haven't made that decision. My inclination is to be on the 11th floor, not the 15th, because that's where I think my job is," Pollock said.
Despite the well-wishes of most industry executives, a few raised questions about Pollock's lack of experience. And two former clients expressed some reservations about Pollock's attention to detail.
"He's great on the big points," said one former client, requesting anonymity, but he suggested that Pollock sometimes demonstrates a "lack of follow-through."
To those critics, Pollock responded that he is a good delegator and considers that trait helpful for the task at hand.
"They didn't hire me to be a picture picker," Pollock said, explaining that he does feel qualified to attract and oversee a talented staff. In addition, Pollock noted his own considerable experience in film financing, and said he expects to work easily within the MCA corporate ranks.
Pollock, a graduate of Stanford University and Columbia University Law School, in 1971 co-founded a Los Angeles law firm now called Pollock, Bloom & Dekom. He catapulted to the top of the entertainment law profession when he represented film maker George Lucas in his earliest ventures. Since then, the client roster has added such producers as Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer and Dino DeLaurentiis.
Pollock said he represented MCA's Azoff last May when the record division chief sold MCA his interests in three entertainment-related firms for stock worth about $15.67 million.
Although Pollock said he expects his 17-member law firm to continue, he said he will "be out." The firm does "too much business with all of the studios for me to retain an interest," he said.
Times staff writer David Friendly contributed to this story.