Fox Studios Australia CEO Nancy Romano to Step Down

Ben Rothstein/Twentieth Century Fox
"The Wolverine"

During her seven-year tenure as head of the 21st Century Fox-owned operation in Sydney, such films as "The Great Gatsby" and "The Wolverine" were made on the lot.

SYDNEY – Fox Studios Australia CEO Nancy Romano has announced her departure from the company, which is part of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, after 13 years.

Romano, who has been CEO for seven years, will leave her post at the end of the year and return to her native Melbourne in early 2014. The company didn't immediately name a successor.

During Romano’s tenure, FSA, which boasts the largest studio complex in the Southern hemisphere, has played host to big-budget international productions, including Wolverine: X-Men Origins and The Wolverine, Baz Luhrmann’s Australia and The Great Gatsby, as well as major Australian TV series, including X-Factor, The Voice and Australia’s Got Talent.

Hal Haenel, vp, production services at Fox Studios Production Services, said in a statement: "Nancy’s service, loyalty and commitment has seen our company succeed, grow and develop, and Nancy’s leadership is a major contribution to our successes, and her loss will be felt across the business. It is a testament to Nancy that she leaves her mark both commercially and through friendship on all of us at Fox Studios."

Said Romano: "After 13 amazing years with Fox Studios Australia…it’s time for me to move on. It has been a difficult decision for me to make after being here for so long and having achieved so much with the studio and our amazing team. However, I truly feel the time is right for me to find fresh challenges."

Among other things, she was also successful in lobbying the state government to increase production incentives in 2011 and oversaw the major acquisition of lighting equipment from Panalux, making Fox Studios the largest lighting supplier in Australia.

However, a strong Australian dollar in recent years has meant that facilities like Fox and Village Roadshow Studios on Queensland’s Gold Coast have been used less frequently for big-budget productions as in the previous decade. But a 20 percent drop in the value of the Aussie dollar in recent months and increases in location incentives to up to 30 percent mean that Australia is becoming competitive again as a production destination.