Panavision Inc., the longtime supplier of motion picture camera equipment, has replaced Chief Executive William M. Campbell -- after just 10 weeks on the job.
The Woodland Hills company, controlled by investor Ronald O. Perelman, said in a statement that William C. Bevins, a longtime associate of Perelman's, had replaced Campbell, the former president of Discovery Networks USA who also had been an executive at ABC, CBS and Warner Bros. Television.
Bevins is the fourth CEO in six years at Panavision, which manufactures and designs motion picture cameras that it leases to film crews, along with lighting, grip and crane equipment.
Panavision offered no explanation for Campbell's abrupt departure. Its employees were stunned by the news, coming so soon after Campbell's April appointment, at which time Perelman hailed him for his "visionary leadership" that would "take Panavision into the next phase of our business."
Campbell had replaced Bob Beitcher, who was chosen by Perelman in 2003 to revitalize the business that had been slow to adapt to a rapidly evolving digital market.
The management shake-up comes at a time when many companies that service the film and TV business are reeling from a sharp downturn in production. People close to Panavision say it was especially hard hit last year by the 100-day writers strike, which virtually shut down TV production, and by the subsequent slowdown caused by the yearlong contract dispute between the Screen Actors Guild and major studios. The recession also has prompted studios to make fewer movies, further depressing demand for equipment.
Panavision laid off more than 100 workers from its offices around the world in the last 18 months and currently employs about 1,150, including about 300 at its Woodland Hills headquarters.
Bevins is a former consultant to MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., Perelman's main investment vehicle. A former chief financial officer for Turner Broadcasting System Inc., Bevins also previously ran New World Communications Group Inc. and Marvel Entertainment Group.
Bevins "brings unparalleled operational experience to the table, which will help strengthen Panavision's platform for future growth," said Panavision Vice Chairman Ken Ziffren, a veteran entertainment industry attorney.
In a statement, Campbell called his short tenure with Panavision "a privilege" and said he would remain as an advisor to the company.