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Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman Jeff Shell is vesting Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley with more responsibility, as well as extending her contract through 2017. Going forward, the duo will run marketing and international production together.
Langley, whose contract was up at the end of 2014, will continue to report directly to Shell.
The move comes five months after Shell, who rose up through the ranks of Universal’s parent company NBCUniversal, took over the studio and upped Langley from co-chairman to chairman. Adam Fogelson, who previously served as chairman, was ousted in the shuffle.
President of marketing Josh Goldstine and president of international David Kosse will now report to both Langley and Shell, versus just Shell.
“During the past five months, I’ve gotten to know Donna and together we’ve found a great working rhythm that is both comfortable and complementary,” said Shell in a statement. “She has terrific creative instincts and I’m continually impressed by the depth of her talent and filmmaker relationships, her experience and her work ethic. I’m thrilled to have her as my partner.”
Langley continues to oversee all aspects of the studio’s production strategy and specialty division Focus Features. That includes managing Fast & Furious 7 after the tragic death of Paul Walker, and the film adaptation of EL James‘ Fifty Shades of Grey, which is now shooting in Vancouver. Other high-profile projects in production include Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie.
Langley played a pivotal role in winning the film rights to Fifty Shades after a fierce bidding war among nearly all of the Hollywood studios. She similarly prevailed in a battle for Unbroken.
Shell credits Langley for being a driving force in the studio’s recent successes, including current box-office hit Ride Along. In 2013, global box-office revenue for Universal titles reached a best-ever $3.7 billion, led by Fast & Furious 6 and Despicable Me 2, and despite pricey misses R.I.P.D. and 47 Ronin.
Langley is credited with reinvigorating the Fast & Furious franchise and for striking relationships with key filmmakers and producers, including Judd Apatow, Jason Blum, Seth MacFarlane and Will Packer (Ride Along). She also continues to manage Universal’s longtime relationships with Working Title, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer‘s Imagine Entertainment, Scott Stuber‘s Bluegrass Films and Marc Platt Productions.
“Donna is one of the finest all-around motion picture executives I’ve ever known and I’m delighted she is getting this well-deserved extension and expanding her duties as Chairman,” said NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer. “I’m confident that Donna and Jeff will continue to create long-term success for our film group and I’m looking forward to our ongoing collaboration.”
Langley has been with Universal since 2001, first serving as senior vp production. She was previously an executive with New Line.
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