Exec close to Zeta Group prexy Asensio

MADRID — Publishing and TV exec John Gibbons has taken up the post of CEO at Aurum, Spain’s second-biggest indie pic distributor and, over the past year, one of its largest mainstream producers.

Gibbons replaces Francisco Ramos, who left Aurum Oct. 1 to set up his own production-distribution shingle. Gibbons is close to press baron Antonio Asensio, prexy of Spanish media conglom Zeta Group and 100% owner of Aurum.

In March Gibbons was appointed one of Zeta’s six board members.

He boasts considerable, if hands-off, film and TV experience, having worked closely with Asensio when he was prexy of free-to-air commercial channel Antena 3 from 1992-97. He already supervised Aurum affairs and earlier this year was named CEO of Zeta Digital, Zeta’s Internet operation.

Aurum will continue with its output deal with New Line, which gives it exclusive access to New Line’s U.S. releases through 2001.

Gibbons may not share Ramos’ passionate commitment to third-party pickups as a distributor, however, nor a production slate which ran to six to eight films a year.

Aurum pic production was put on hold this spring despite a string of recent hits such as “I Will Survive” and “The Art of Dying.”

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