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U taps Lusk to take tech into new areas

Universal Studios has appointed computer-industry vet Alice H. Lusk to the newly created position of exec vice president and chief technology officer, the studio announced Friday.

In the tech leadership post, Lusk will direct Universal’s business-oriented computer and information systems. But she’ll also work across all of entertainment company’s divisions to oversee strategic directions as it moves into new consumer technology areas, such as DVD and the Internet.

“There’s an incredible amount of hype and excitement going on in technology now, and I’m going to try to separate out the parts that are real and commercially viable,” said Lusk. “I’m going to focus on figuring out the business applications of the technology and how to marry them with our business so all the pieces fit together.”

The appointment marks an expanded awareness of technology for Universal, said Bruce L. Hack, exec veepee and CFO for the studio. “It launches our effort to exploit emerging technology to advance our core entertainment businesses in fundamental ways,” said Hack. Japan-based consumer electronics firm Matsushita is a 20% partner in the Seagram Co.-owned Universal.

Lusk comes to Universal from computer maker NCR Corp., where she served as senior VP in the firm’s business solutions group. Previously, she spent 20 years at Electronic Data Systems, eventually rising to president and CEO of two of the company’s business units.

Lusk starts the new position Sept. 2.

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