Winchester CEO Smith ankles post

Film house founder leaves after rebound in stock price

LONDON — Gary Smith has been ousted as CEO of Winchester Entertainment, the publicly listed film sales and financing company he founded.

Move comes four months after Winchester merged with Cobalt Media Group, which brought in Cobalt backers Alton Irby and John Muse as Winchester’s largest shareholders.

Since then, Winchester’s stock price has bounced back from the lows it reached after a disastrous 2002, when it was forced to issue multiple profit warnings.

Trading scandal

Its image and market value also were damaged when Smith was investigated for insider trading after he sold nearly $1 million in shares just two weeks before the first profit warning. He was cleared of wrongdoing, but the incident reflected poorly on internal controls.

Smith, who is leaving to “pursue other interests,” retains his 10% stake in Winchester.

The company’s slate includes “Red Dwarf,” “Harv the Barbarian” and Klasky Csupo’s”The Way the Dead Love.” Cobalt has foreign rights to “Open Range” and “House of Sand and Fog.”

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