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MGM/UA fills exec slate

The search for seasoned marketing and distrib execs to round out the new MGM/UA’s top management team has finally been completed, sources said Wednesday.

Studio chairman/CEO Frank G. Mancuso is expected to make a formal announcement as early as Monday. Among those expected to fill new slots are his former Paramount lieutenant Katherine Findling, who has been tapped to help ramp up thestudio’s fledgling marketing arm under exec VP Gerry Rich, who stepped into his new office two weeks ago.

While at Paramount, Findling integrated the studio’s onscreen titles with the product placement and licensing arenas — a talent she’ll bring to bear in her new job on Rich’s team.

Observers note that with big titles like “Blown Away” and “Higgins & Beech” raring to go while the sci-fi actioner “Species” is brewing, the new marketing hands will have a pipeline of titles to sell in ancillary areas where the studio hasn’t been well represented.

Another Paramount alum — that studio’s theatrical exhib group prexy Larry Gleason — will take the MGM/UA distrib reins that were left slack by the recent departure of MGM Inc. distrib prexy Jack Foley (Daily Variety, Dec. 6) and imminently exiting marketing and distrib prexy Ashley Boone.

This means Boone’s old job has been reconfigured: With Rich handling all marketing, Gleason will assume all of the distrib responsibilities for both slates. There will likely be no marketing prexy announcement.

Reps for MGM/UA had no comment on any of the executive announcements. Calls to Mancuso’s office were not returned.

Gleason, whose Paramount contract is expiring, landed at Par in 1989 after handling marketing and distrib responsibilities for the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group.

Gleason was the Paramount exec who oversaw exhib entities United Cinemas Intl., Cinamerica and Famous Players.

Sources said Mancuso’s two new hires indicate a need to move quickly for both sides: Coming on the heels of Paramount bidder Barry Diller’s strengthened hand, several Paramount execs are already scouting the town for the escape hatch found by Findling and Gleason.

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