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Robert Friedman, (Summit ) named Entrepreneur Of The Year

Robert Friedman, Co-chairman, CEO, Summit Entertainment LLC, was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2010 national winner in the Media, Entertainment and Communications category. Now in its 24th year, Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.

Friedman was recognized for establishing Summit Entertainment LLC as a worldwide theatrical motion picture development, financing, production and distribution studio. Friedman was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year® gala, the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in nine additional categories. All Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from approximately 300 regional award recipients.

"Summit Entertainment's success can be attributed, in part, to the environment created by Robert Friedman, which encourages employees to explore creative ideas without fear of failure," said Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Ernst & Young LLP. "Friedman has also put into place a well-managed system that enables the ideas to be vetted and pursued, which is critical for entrepreneurial success. As a result, he has significantly grown the business and filled a gap in the motion picture market with a more efficient and cost-effective model. Robert Friedman very much deserves to be named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2010 national winner in the Media, Entertainment and Communications Category."

Taking a risk on a new kind of studio

Working from the time he was young and with no formal degree, Friedman rose from the mailroom at Warner Brothers to Vice Chairman, COO of Paramount Pictures. In 2005, in the midst of a down year for the box office, he made the decision to step down at Paramount and take a calculated risk.

Friedman saw an opportunity to create a different kind of studio - one made for the future that would work with changing markets, run on lower overhead and capitalize on emerging technology.

Twilight phenomenon paves road to success

In December 2006, before the deal was finalized, discussions began around developing a film based on the Twilight novels. At the time, fewer than 15,000 copies had been sold, but Friedman and his team took a chance on what has turned out to be a worldwide phenomenon. In just three years under Friedman's leadership, Summit Entertainment has grown into one of the most successful film franchises in the business with the Twilight series and the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker, competing with the major studios that have dominated the market for decades.

Today, Summit Entertainment develops, finances, produces and distributes on average 8 to 12 major motion pictures per year. With a billion dollars of operating capital, the idea behind Summit remains simple: develop targeted product in both audience and price point that can be distributed worldwide at a fraction of the cost of the major studios.

With the studio clearly established, Friedman is now looking to extend Summit's platform to include media beyond film, such as television and emerging forms of entertainment.

Supporting special causes

Since the early days of his professional career, Friedman has donated time and personal resources to support causes and initiatives he is passionate about. He sits on the board of governors for the Southern California Special Olympics and held a seat on the board of directors of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. He is also an active supporter of the Salvation Army and Hearts of L.A.

Summit Shares is a volunteer program that Friedman started in 2007, the same year Summit Entertainment launched. The program has encouraged involvement within the community from employees of all levels.

Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2010 National Finalists in the Media, Entertainment, and Communications Category

In addition to Robert Friedman, The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® national finalists in the Media, Entertainment, and Communications category are: Jeffery Gardner, President, CEO of Little Rock, Ark.-based Windstream Corporation (Nasdaq: WIN), a company that provides phone, high-speed Internet and high-definition digital TV services to customers in 21 states; Matthew O'Connell, CEO, President, Director of GeoEye Inc. of Dulles, Va., a premier provider of superior satellite and aerial imagery, location information products and image processing services; and Andy Ory, CEO, President, Co-Founder of Burlington, Mass.-based Acme Packet (Nasdaq: APKT), the leader in session border control solutions for delivering trusted, first-class unified communications and collaboration.


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