Lionsgate gives Beeks COO duties

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Lionsgate Films president Steve Beeks has been promoted and is taking on the additional role of COO. He also has signed a new multiterm agreement at the company.

With the move, Lionsgate co-chairman and CEO Jon Feltheimer, vice chairman Michael Burns and Beeks are all signed to contracts extending until 2010-11. Collectively, they have nearly 20 years of experience at the helm of the studio.

“Steve’s promotion and new title reflect the role he is already playing in helping me manage Lionsgate’s day-to-day operations as well as leading our home entertainment, library and digital initiatives,” Feltheimer said. “He has shown the ideal combination of strategic vision and superb tactical execution essential to our continued growth and success.”

He added that Beeks, who was named president shortly after the company’s December 2003 acquisition of Artisan Entertainment, where the exec had served as president of Artisan Home Entertainment, is an example of the Lionsgate strategy of culling the “best and the brightest” leadership from acquired companies as well as in-house.

In addition to overseeing corporate operations, Beeks is responsible for helping to develop and execute the company’s strategy for international expansion as well as identifying corporate acquisitions, strategic ventures and other growth initiatives. This includes Lionsgate U.K. and, at some point, a planned expansion into Australia.

“This is an exciting time to be part of Lionsgate,” said Beeks, citing recent acquisitions including Redbus — now Lionsgate U.K. — in 2005 and Debmar-Mercury in 2006.

Under Beeks’ leadership, Lionsgate’s home entertainment business has grown to a new high of nearly $530 million in annual revenue, achieved industry market share of about 6% and moved into digital delivery. The company recently reported record library revenue of $256 million for fiscal 2007, and Lionsgate continues to establish new alliances for leveraging its 11,000-title library and new content into the digital marketplace. Lionsgate’s international business achieved its highest revenue performance in fiscal 2007.

Lionsgate recently announced a 23-picture financing deal, utilizing $200 million in funds from a blue-chip consortium. Lionsgate will contribute the same amount, for a total of $400 milliong. Beeks said plans call for “more wide-release pictures, and more varied genres … without impacting Lionsgate’s model of a controlled risk in the motion picture business.”

Beeks has been an executive of Lionsgate and its predecessor companies for nearly 10 years. He previously served as president of Artisan Home Entertainment, which he joined in January 1998, following the purchase of the company by Bain Capital.
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