In a move that the company described as an effort to solidify its structure across divisions, Megan Ellison’s Annapurna has promoted Sue Naegle to chief content officer. Naegle, who has been serving as president of Annapurna Television since 2017, is taking on a larger role, overseeing the development and production of the company’s film slate as well as its theater division, and she will also manage Annapurna Interactive IP across the company’s various platforms.
Naegle will report to Ellison, Annapurna’s founder and CEO, who announced the promotion Wednesday.
Additionally, Ivana Lombardi, who joined Annapurna as executive vp development in early 2018, has been promoted to president of film. She will be working closely with longtime Annapurna executive Jillian Longnecker, who has been upped to president of physical production.
Annapurna has been without a president of film since Chelsea Barnard exited the company in October.
In announcing the moves, Annapurna said it plans to produce and acquire between three to five features a year for theatrical distribution and streaming platforms.
Annapurna currently has several films in release: Adam McKay’s Vice, which just picked up eight Oscar nominations, including for best picture, and has grossed nearly $40 million domestically since its Christmas Day bow; Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, which collected three Oscar noms, included for adapted screenplay, and has grossed $10.9 million to date; and Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer, which brought its star Nicole Kidman a Golden Globe nomination and has grossed about $670,000 in limited release.
“Annapurna has always been a company with an allegiance to ambitious content and its commitment to artists across all platforms,” Naegle said in a statement. “I find it a privilege to shepherd the diversity of storytelling that this company produces and to work alongside Megan to help continue her inspiring vision.”
“I could not be more thrilled for this next chapter of Annapurna. I am very confident about our future, especially with Sue’s expanded leadership,” Ellison said in a statement of her own. “I believe this new team of incredible women including Ivana Lombardi and Jillian Longnecker is a strong one, and one with impeccable taste and relationships. Their deep love for filmmaking is one that I share, and I am excited to be working alongside them to preserve the mission of this company and bring forth synergy across all of our divisions.”
The announcement emphasized that Ellison, as CEO, “will continue to lead the direction of the company and play an active role in creative and business decisions and greenlighting projects across all divisions.”
Annapurna Television also just announced the expansion of its executive team with the hiring of Amazon’s Patrick Chu as sevior vp development, joining veteran executives Susan Goldberg and Ali Krug. Annapurna Television will remain under Naegle’s purview as well as Annapurna’s latest production arm, Annapurna Theatre.
Focused on producing live theater for the stage, Annapurna Theatre is spearheaded by Skye Optican and Kevin Emrick, who joined the division from the late Stuart Thompson Productions. Annapurna Theatre is currently represented on Broadway as a co-producer of the National Theatre’s production of Network, starring Bryan Cranston and directed by Ivo van Hove, and it is the lead producer of the upcoming New York premiere of Fleabag, written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and directed by Vicky Jones. In addition, Annapurna Theatre also has four shows in production with the National Theatre in the West End including Nine Night; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Home, I’m Darling; and The Lehman Trilogy.