Wilkinson's long stay at CEA is ending


LONDON -- U.K. theater trade organization the Cinema Exhibitors' Assn. said Wednesday that longtime chief executive John Wilkinson is stepping down.

CEA chairman Barry Jenkins said in an interview that the organization is seeking to recruit a replacement by October with "more experience in the PR of exhibition." Wilkinson has agreed to stay on until a replacement is found.

Wilkinson has been at the CEA for 17 years and has campaigned for his members -- which include the U.K.'s biggest chains Odeon Cinemas, Vue Cinemas and Cineworld -- on issues such as release windows, distribution contracts and theater expansion.

"His contribution to the smooth running of cinema exhibition is greatly appreciated by all members," Jenkins said. "The association will continue to develop on the sound base built by John."

Wilkinson said he has enjoyed his stay at CEA and wished his successor "continued success."