Exec likely to negotiate early exit from Miramax

Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax Films, is in talks to assume a similar role at DreamWorks.

While no deal has been made and Sands has more than a year remaining on his Miramax contract, he is likely to negotiate an early exit.

For its part, DreamWorks has been discussing the need for a chief operating officer in light of the pending IPO of its animation division.

DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who has handled most of the studio’s administrative and operational duties over the years, is expected to spend most of his time focusing on the animation arm and will need someone to handle the increased responsibilities that come with a publicly traded company.

Meanwhile, Miramax’s own future is in flux, with negotiations ongoing between Disney and Harvey and Bob Weinstein and 13% of staffers receiving pinkslips last week.

Sands, who also holds the title of chairman of worldwide distribution at Miramax, oversees production, marketing and administration at the shingle.

The exec joined Miramax 14 years ago as an exec VP and chief financial officer. He was instrumental in negotiating the sale of Miramax to the Walt Disney Co.

He left Miramax in 1993 to become exec VP/chief financial officer for RHI Entertainment, where he engineered the sale of the company to Hallmark Entertainment. Sands returned to Miramax in 1994, taking control of international activities; in 1997 he became chair of worldwide distribution.

DreamWorks would not comment; Sands and Miramax declined comment.

(Adam Dawtrey in London contributed to this report.)

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