Wigan downshifts at Col

He'll consult on SPE's int'l film

Gareth Wigan, a 21-year veteran at Columbia Pictures, is stepping back from his day-to-day role co-running the studio's international motion pictures production group and taking on the new role of strategic adviser to Sony Pictures Entertainment's international film business.

Wigan said that though he's had a long career, cutting back does not mean retirement is on the horizon.

"This role will allow me to remain involved in doing what I love, while continuing to add value to the company which has been such a big part of my life," he said.

Wigan joined Columbia in 1987 as a consultant. Along with running the international motion picture production group with president Deborah Schindler, who joined the group last year, Wigan has been vice chair of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group since 1997.

Sony co-chair Amy Pascal lauded Wigan for his work with some of the studio's best films, including "Sense and Sensibility" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

"Almost single-handedly, Gareth built up our international film business, making him a real pioneer in our industry," Sony CEO and chair Michael Lynton said. "He recognized early on the power of the global market, which is so crucial to our growth in the years ahead."

Under Wigan's watch, Sony became the first major studio to maintain stand-alone, local-language production units in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Wigan and Schindler recently worked on the expansion of the studio's film ventures in India and Russia. The group also is active in China, Spain, France and Mexico, the latter of which will release "Casi Divas" on April 11.

Before Columbia, Wigan partnered with Paula Wagner in a production company, releasing the 1985 film "American Flyers," and worked with the Ladd Co. on "Outland," "The Right Stuff" and "Police Academy."

The Oxford University grad also worked for 20th Century Fox as vp production.