Gramercy Pictures has hired MGM’s senior VP of marketing Claudia Gray as its new senior VP of publicity–the first key executive hire since the distribution company formed five months ago.

Gray’s appointment is one of a handful of key executive posts expected to be announced in coming weeks.

Gramercy president Russell Schwartz said he plans to hire another 15 staffers in the near future.

Gray, who joins Gramercy Nov. 9, was considered a critical fixture at MGM through that company’s recent shakeup in its marketing division. She joined that company in 1987 as VP of broadcast production and publicity and four years later was promoted to a key marketing post. She was heavily involved in such theatrical campaigns as “Thelma & Louise,””Moonstruck,” and “A Fish Called Wanda.”

At Gramercy, she will handle publicity and be responsible for creating campaigns for releases generated by Gramercy’s sister companies under the Polygram Filmed Entertainment umbrella: A&M Films, Propaganda and Working Title. Gramercy is a marketing and distribution joint venture between Polygram and Universal Pictures.

Before MGM, Gray worked for Walt Disney Studios as director of creative film services.