Co. has not identified a successor

Universal Worldwide Home Entertainment president Louis Feola is leaving after 26 years with the studio.

Feola has been the first and only president of UWHE since it was established in 1998 as the umbrella division for the studio’s specialty production units that develop and produce content for homevideo and animated TV series — Universal Home Entertainment Prods. (UHEP), Universal Pictures Visual Programming (UPVP) and Universal Cartoon Studios.

The studio has not identified a successor to Feola and said only that the future direction of the 35- to 40-employee group will be determined in the next couple of months.

Feola, whose contract is up, said he has been asked to stay on during the transition period.

Feola was president of worldwide operations for the studio’s homevideo division from 1992-98. He oversaw the release of major homevideo successes such as “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and entrance of the studio into the DVD market.

He also spearheaded U’s first made-for-DVD pic, the first animated sequel to “The Land Before Time.” Worldwide sales of that franchise, including eight more sequel pics, has reached nearly $1 billion for the studio.

Additional theatrical films for which Feola supervised DVD-premiere sequels include “An American Tail,” “Balto,” “Darkman,” “Tremors,” “K-9,” “Beethoven” and “Slap Shot.”

He also shepherded documentary “Beyond the Mat.”

At UWHE, Feola oversaw the first new Woody Woodpecker TV cartoon series in more than 20 years and produced “The Mummy” and “Sitting Ducks” animated TV series. He was responsible for acquiring international distribution rights to Mattel’s computer-animated straight-to-DVD Barbie movies.

Feola joined U in 1978 in the feature film division and held various executive positions in distribution until becoming exec VP, U.S., of MCA/Universal Home Video in 1990.

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