As expected, Edwards Theaters’ head film buyer Pat Notaro has been brought on board as Columbia Pictures’ general sales manager and No. 2 distribution exec in the studio’s internal executive shuffle announced yesterday.

Notaro is one of five appointments and promotions announced by Jeff Blake, Columbia’s president of domestic distribution.

Notaro replaces Jerry Jorgensen, who vacated the general sales manager post in early August. Last month, Notaro was rumored to be Jorgensen’s likely successor (Daily Variety, Sept. 18).

Notaro represents one of the first key management hires for Blake since he became the division president several months ago. The two date back to 1988 when Blake sold movies as Paramount’s West Coast division manager and Notaro bought films for United Artists Theaters as its head film buyer in Southern California. He began his career in 1970 at Pacific Theaters, where he rose to assistant head film buyer.

Aside from Notaro, Mark Zucker was promoted to senior VP of operations and administration. He has been a VP in the distribution division since 1990. Before that, he was TriStar Pictures VP of marketing services for six years. He held previous marketing and financial posts at the former UA and Paramount. Like Notaro, Zucker reports directly to Blake.

Also promoted is David Garel, Midwest division manager,reporting to Notaro. He replaces Dan Marks, who switched to Triumph in August. He joined the company’s distribution wing six years ago as a film booker in Columbia’s Denver field office, transferred to L.A. as sales manager and eventually became western district manager.

Garel’s previous role is being filled by Kip Smiley, who has been the Atlanta-based southeast sales manager for Triumph Releasing. Smiley joined Columbia as a film booker in 1984 and was promoted to the Triumph post five years later. He now reports to Allen Elrod, western division manager.

Columbia also hired Greg Mays as Midwest district manager from the Sony Pictures Management Associates program. It is a 2-year rotational program in which he received training in four different aspects of the company. Mays, who will report to Garel, previously worked in Zucker’s department.

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