Swinkels to oversee Blighty, Ireland distro strategy

LONDON — Niels Swinkels has been upped to managing director of Universal Pictures Intl., U.K. and Ireland.

Swinkels will oversee the distribution strategy and all other activities concerning U’s theatrical titles in Blighty and Ireland, including upcoming releases “Despicable Me,” Focus Features’ “The Kids Are All Right,” and U and Working Title’s “Paul.”

Swinkels currently serves as senior vice prexy of distribution for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and in the new role, will replace Simon Hewlett, who was upped to exec vice prexy of marketing for UPI in September.

He will report directly to Duncan Clarke, exec vice prexy of distribution.

Swinkels joined UPI in 2004 as international marketing director, and served in various positions, including vice prexy of marketing and vice prexy of sales and distribution. He played a coordinating role during the region’s split from United International Pictures, and helped smooth the transition when UPI opened its international office.

Prior to UPI, the Dutch native helped form Amsterdam-based indie distrib Independent Films and had a stint at PolyGram Filmed Entertainment in the territory.

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