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David Kosse, president of international for Universal, will remain in London where he has lived with his family for the past 17 years. He’ll oversee the transition while Universal seeks out a new individual to take over that role in Los Angeles. Kosse, one of the most powerful studio executives left in the U.K., is considering another role in the company.
Kosse has overseen the growth of Universal’s international operations in London, bringing in veteran theatrical distribution executive Duncan Clark, who lived for two decades in the U.S., where he was a top international distribution executive for Sony Pictures Entertainment, serving as president of international theatrical from 1996-2000 in L.A.
Kosse also ran Universal Pictures International Productions, overseeing the studio’s territory specific productions.
Universal’s international operations had a record-breaking year in 2013, breaking the $2 billion barrier for the first time with big performances from Despicable Me 2 and Fast & Furious 6.
In late February, former president of Universal Pictures international entertainment Eddie Cunningham made the move from London to Los Angeles when he was promoted to president of worldwide home entertainment. Craig Kornblau, who had served as president of domestic home entertainment, left the company after 16 years.
By moving both leaders to Los Angeles, the studio aims to have the international leadership in closer communications with Jeff Shell, chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, and the Universal Pictures executive team. Sources told THR that Shell, who worked in London prior to being given the top job, has long wanted to keep the top leadership close to him in L.A.
A Universal source said the studio still aims to maintain “a strong presence in the London office and around the world” as part of its global strategy. There are no immediate plans to move any other staff from the London office, which has around 100 employees. Sources say there are no layoffs currently planned based on this move.
While Universal will keep its London office operational, there has been a trend in the past few years with several studios moving international leadership out of Europe and into L.A. Paramount moved its leadership to Los Angeles in 2011.
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Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival