Mitch Neuhauser is NATO's new showrunner

Will head Las Vegas-based convention in March 2011

Mitch Neuhauser, co-director of ShoWest and other Nielsen Co. confabs, was appointed Tuesday as show manager of a Las Vegas-based convention planned by the National Association of Theatre Owners in March 2011.

As vp of the Nielsen Film Group, Neuhauser helped direct events including ShowEast in Orlando, Cinema Expo in Amsterdam and CineAsia in Hong Kong. He assumes his new post Sept. 14.

Neuhauser began his career in 1981 with the Sunshine Group Worldwide, which then operated ShowEast, Cinema Expo and CineAsia until those events were purchased by then-Nielsen parent VNU. ShoWest was added to his responsibilities when it was purchased by Nielsen in 2001.

NATO, which has co-sponsored ShoWest in recent years, has opted instead to launch its own event beginning in 2011.

"I owe a debt of deep gratitude to Bob Sunshine and the Nielsen Film Group for their tremendous support over the past 28 years, and I leave on good terms and with great pride in what we have accomplished together," Neuhauser said.

Said NATO and Cinemark chairman Lee Roy Mitchell: "As NATO takes the reins of its official convention, our board of directors and conventions task force have considered how best to build on the long history of our successful partnership with ShoWest. We are confident we have taken an important first step by hiring a man who has been so critical to that success."

Distribution-side ShoWest supporters also applauded the appointment.

"That's a no-brainer -- get Mitch Neuhauser to run the show for NATO, and you can't go wrong," Fox domestic distribution boss Bruce Snyder said. "He gets two thumbs up from this office."