Mr. Puttnam Goes to Hollywood

A movie maverick takes over as chairman at Columbia Pictures

Musical chairs is a time-honored executive pastime in Hollywood, where top- level job switches are frequent but outsiders are usually unwelcome. Thus it was a major surprise when Columbia Pictures announced in June that British Filmmaker David Puttnam would replace Guy McElwaine as chairman. Puttman, 45, who takes over this week, is the producer of such widely praised hits as Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields but has never worked for a U.S. movie company. Indeed, he has been one of the American industry's most outspoken critics. Columbia is gambling that a talented iconoclast can provide something the studio sorely...

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