Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley has been re-upped through 2017, adding
international production and marketing as well as domestic marketing to her to her role. President of marketing Josh Goldstine and David Kosse, the studio’s London based president, international will now report to both Langley and her boss Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman Jeff Shell.
“During the past five months, I’ve gotten to know Donna and together we’ve found a great working rhythm that is both comfortable and complementary,” said Shell in a statement. “She has terrific creative instincts and I’m continually impressed by the depth of her talent and filmmaker relationships, her experience and her work ethic. I’m thrilled to have her as my partner.”
Four months ago Langley was promoted to her current position after her predecessor, Adam Fogelson, was forced out of his job and Comcast vet Shell was hired to lead the studio. Prior to Shell coming aboard, many industry insiders had speculated that Langley, who had been Fogelson’s lieutenant as Universal co-chairman since October 2009, was in jeopardy of being ousted, not her boss.
Over the past couple of years, Universal had produced such costly flops as “Battleship,” “R.I.P.D.” and “47 Ronin,” which collectively lost the studio hundreds of millions of dollars.
Though Langley also helped oversee those productions, it was Fogelson who was ultimately held responsible.
Moreover, unlike Fogelson, who had spent most of his career as a top marketing executive at Universal and elsewhere, Langley came up through Hollywood’s production ranks and has strong talent relationships throughout the creative community. Shell, a former TV cable executive who most recently headed Comcast’s NBCUniversal Intl., is a newcomer to the movie industry. Since taking over the studio, he has been closely trailing Langley, attending all of her creative meetings in an effort to learn the business.
In her current role as chairman, Langley oversees Focus Features; worldwide acquisitions; feature film production and manages the studio’s relationship with Working Title.
During her time at Universal, Langley has helped spearhead the “Fast & Furious” and “Bourne” series and built relationships with the likes of producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and directors Judd Apatow and Seth MacFarlane. She also headed up the acquisitions of the best-selling erotic romance novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.”
Langley joined the studio in 2001 as a senior VP of production. Previously, she was a top production executive at New Line Cinema, where she oversaw the “Austin Powers” franchise.