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Halmi Jr quits RHI

Robert Halmi Jr, president and CEO of US miniseries producer RHI Entertainment, has resigned, months after the company emerged from bankruptcy protection.

Halmi Jr (left) had to take a pay cut a year ago, seeing his salary almost halve to US$1.2m amid the restructuring prompted by the firm’s heavy debts.

But at the time, he signed a new contract to keep him in place at least until January this year. During this period, RHI was forced to delist from Nasdaq and seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, from which it emerged in March.

“RHI is in the strongest financial and operational position it has been in years to expand its production and distribution activities,” said RHI board chairman Gabriel de Alba. “We greatly appreciate Robi’s enormous contributions and plan to substantially build on them as we take the company to the next level.”

De Alba didn’t say what the company will be doing in terms of appointing a successor.

Halmi Jr added in a statement: “RHI is very near and dear to me. I’m gratified to have been able to see it through a successful reorganisation and put it on a path to thrive for years to come.”

Having been appointed president of his father’s company in 1984 at the age of 26, Halmi Jr steered RHI through its US$365m sale to Hallmark Cards in 1994 and then engineered its buy-back in 2006 for US$700m.

But the move saddled the business with US$609m of debt and an IPO in 2008 raised far less than had been hoped for. He admitted to C21 in December last year that it had been a “a terrible public offering.”

Robert Halmi Sr, the 87-year-old Hungarian immigrant who set up the business that bears his initials in 1979, will remain with the company under a long-term production agreement and will continue to produce his signature event miniseries, the firm said.

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