EuropaCorp Shake-Up: Marc Shmuger Replacing CEO Christophe Lambert

Marc Shmuger - H 2016
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Marc Shmuger - H 2016

Christophe Lambert is stepping down as CEO of the company he has run with Luc Besson.

A major executive shuffle has hit EuropaCorp, director/producer Luc Besson’s Paris-based media company.

Christophe Lambert has left the post of CEO and will be replaced by veteran Hollywood studio exec Marc Shmuger, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The post will be an interim position for Shmuger, but it's not clear how long the term will be. He will be based in Los Angeles.

In addition to his CEO duties at EuropaCorp, Lambert also had a role overseeing the joint distribution venture that EuropaCorp formed with Relativity in 2014. Under terms of that 50/50 joint venture, which was dubbed Red, EuropaCorp committed $130 million to be paid over a six-year timeframe, with each company using the services of the new company to distribute its own films. EuropaCorp has released just one film, Transporter: Refueled, which opened in September, through the joint venture.

The move comes just as the company is moving into production on Valerian, Besson’s $180 million sci-fi pic.

A memo circulated within the company says Lambert left to pursue a personal project after assuring that Valerian was in good hands.

In the same memo, Besson thanked Lambert for helping built EuropaCorp into a company that could stand next to the big studios.

Shmuger, 57, rose up the ranks at Universal to become co-chairman until getting shown the door in 2011. He launched his own production banner, Global Produce, and was involved as an exec producer on Lucy, Besson’s 2014 hit starring Scarlett Johansson that was distributed by Universal.

Shmuger's relationship with Besson stretches back to the 1990s, when the exec worked with the filmmaker on the movies The Professional and The Fifth Element.

Shmuger is currently in Berlin for the premiere of Zero Days, Alex Gibney's latest documentary.

Besson, who has directed such films as La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element and The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, founded EuropaCorp in 1999 and holds more than 60 percent of the equity. The company has a library of more than 500 films, has produced more than 80 movies and also produces for television and has its own foreign sales operation.

Since joining EuropaCorp in 2010, Lambert has overseen its expansion, signing up new output deals, forming the Relativity joint venture and heading a push into more English-language productions.