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Dennis Stanfill Will Share Reins at MGM-Pathe With Alan Ladd

January 22, 1992|THOMAS S. MULLIGAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MGM-Pathe Communications Co. created Hollywood's latest odd couple on Tuesday, announcing that it has hired Dennis C. Stanfill, former chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Corp., to join Alan Ladd Jr. as an MGM chairman and chief executive. The pair will function as co-chairmen and co-chief executives.

Stanfill, 64, had been Ladd's boss at Fox in the 1970s. The two men clashed over what Ladd now calls "policy differences," and Ladd resigned in 1979. Stanfill, in turn, resigned two years later, after Fox was acquired by mogul Marvin Davis.

Industry insiders saw the installation of Stanfill--a Rhodes scholar with extensive finance and management experience--as an attempt by MGM's chief lender, Credit Lyonnais of France, to restore the studio's financial credibility, perhaps in anticipation of a sale. The studio has just emerged from the rocky stewardship of Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti.

Stanfill, however, said he was "committed for the long haul" and did not view his hiring as a stopgap measure. He added that he believes he can work smoothly with Ladd, for whom he said he has "the greatest respect and admiration."

Ladd continues to oversee production, distribution and marketing of films, while Stanfill will handle the studio's corporate and financial management.

Both men, in telephone interviews Tuesday, denied that Stanfill had fired Ladd from Fox, as has been reported.

Of their previous differences, Ladd said: "We spent many hours talking this out, and I think we both recognize where the problem came up and feel it won't happen again." Ladd said he welcomed the move, because while attending to the company's administration, "I was sort of trying to make movies with my left hand."

Stanfill's new job also raises questions about the future of AME of Burbank, Hollywood's largest provider of post-production services--mainly transferring films to videotape for mass distribution. Stanfill resigned as company chairman effective Dec. 31 in anticipation of the MGM post.

AME's founder and former chairman, Andrew M. McIntyre, who sold the company to an investor group in 1989, offered in early December to buy the firm back. The bid came amid reports that AME was struggling under a heavy debt load and exploring a possible sale.

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