In a surprise for the local industry, Irish Film Board CEO Simon Perry will leave at the end of this year when his five-year contract ends.
The news was rumored at the Galway Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday, where many industryites were surprised to learn that his contract would not be reupped.
Sources suggested that Perry’s terms of employment was unclear and even some IFB staff members said they were “confused” by the sudden decision.
IFB board chairman James Morris told Daily Variety on Monday that the CEO position “is not one that has ever been intended to be a permanent extension.
“Change is always difficult, but we’re taking this one step at a time, and we understand that change has to happen.”
Perry, a former topper of British Screen Finance, took up office at IFB in January 2006, and during his tenure he accelerated the trend for European co-productions, with pics like “Ondine” and “Triage.”
His predecessor, Mark Woods, held the position from 2003-2005, while Rod Stoneman was CEO from 1993-2003.
Perry declined to comment, but in a statement, Morris said, “Simon has brought new confidence and renewed energy to Irish filmmakers, bringing new talent to the fore while successfully presiding over a period of rapid growth and range and scale of activities of the IFB.”
The position will be advertised later in the month, and Perry will assist the board in managing the transition into 2011.