Ron Meyer, Universal Studios President and COO

By Victoria Chang, William Guttentag, Roderick Kramer
2008 | Case No. EM4
Ron Meyer, 63, is the president and COO of Universal Studios, one of the “Big Six” movie studios. He oversees Universal Pictures, Focus Features (a smaller-budget, indie-type film studio) and Universal Theme Parks & Resorts. Universal Studios’ parent company is NBC Universal, owned by General Electric (80 percent) and Vivendi (20 percent)—formed in 2004. Meyer is not a typical studio executive. For one, he dresses more casually—often wearing jeans and sweaters, along with tennis shoes. More notable is his lack of a formal education, having dropped out of high school at age 15. Instead of going to college, Meyer joined the Marines Corps at age 17 after hearing about their boxing program. By 2008, Meyer has held his position at Universal for over 12 years, longer than any other existing studio chief, leading the industry to cast him as a “Teflon executive.” In fact, in 2007, he extended his contract for another five years to 2012. During his long tenure at Universal, Meyer has overseen numerous hit movies, as well as improved performance of Universal Theme Parks & Resorts. Looking back on his career, Meyer attributed his success to his personal drive, but even more, it was his charisma that everyone in the industry noticed. Although there are plenty of “good guys” in Hollywood, this positive image, along with humility, tenacity, and his long tenure in the business make Meyer one of the biggest and most interesting success stories in Hollywood.
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