Waddell ankles chief exec post with Lumiere Pictures

Alasdair Waddell has resigned as chief executive of Lumiere Pictures, the U.K. film production arm of France’s Initial Groupe, citing “personal reasons.”

Lumiere was created last year after Initial bought the EMI/Weintraub library, which contains numerous classic British movies along with titles such as “The Deer Hunter” and “Death on the Nile.”

Initial plans to use this catalog as the foundation for a push into English-language production via Lumiere. Waddell was one of the main architects of the plan.

The company recently struck a deal with L.A. producers Barry Spikings and Eric Pleskow for three big-budget movies, and intends when fully operational to make three to five smaller-budget films a year. It is also looking to pick up other movies for international distribution.

Waddell’s surprise departure leaves Initial chief Jean Cazes to fill in as Lumiere’s interim CEO until a replacement can be found. Both sides were anxious to stress that their parting was entirely amicable, and arose from no professional problems between them.

“I had wanted to take a break from the industry for a while, and although no time is perfect, this moment will be least disruptive to Lumiere,” said Waddell. “Jean and I spoke at length on how to handle this transition and I will be on hand for a short period to assist in whatever way I can.”

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