Outline of U’s Meyer succession plan emerges

Topper's contract ends in 2015

Though Universal Studios topper Ron Meyer is nowhere near exiting the post he’s held for 17 years, early indications of parent company Comcast’s succession plans have emerged in the past few days, most recently the report that his contract — which runs through 2015 — includes a transition into corporate consulting before he retires.

Meyer, who oversees Universal Pictures and theme parks, has already ceded much of U’s filmmaking day-to-day to chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chair Donna Langley, removing himself from the greenlight process in recent months to focus on other things, sources tell Variety. At some point in the next few years, Meyer will move over to NBCUniversal to advise CEO Steve Burke, the Los Angeles Times first reported Tuesday.

It wasn’t clear when that might happen — and if it does, who might step into his position. Universal and Comcast had no comment.

Tuesday’s news followed published reports last week that DreamWorks CEO and Co-Chair Stacey Snider had been contacted about replacing Meyer, a move that would return her to the studio she ran from 1999 to 2006. But sources both with Comcast and DreamWorks say such a move would be difficult and, therefore unlikely.

The news comes as Universal is having one of its better years in recent memory. Though NBCUniversal took an $83 million dollar loss from the B.O. disappointment of “Battleship,” the studio still helped the company see a $6 million profit in the first quarter due to success of such films as “Safe House” and “The Lorax.” The studio is also on pace for a record breaking year at the domestic box-office, having already passed the $1 billion total box office mark.

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