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Shakeup At Hemdale

Hemdale Communications, the financially strapped indie, is seeking to restructure and reorganize.

As part of that process, company founder John Daly, who started the firm on a shoestring in 1963, has stepped down as chairman. Hemdale president Derek Gibson also has ankled the firm.

The two key execs will be replaced, respectively, by Eric Parkinson, president of Hemdale’s homevideo arm, and Lawrence Abramson, who will become chief operating officer and CEO. The pair also will assume co-chairman posts. Dorian Langdon, a longtime officer of Hemdale, has been named president of Hemdale Home Video.

Daly and Gibson have pacted with Hemdale Communications in a three-year, non-exclusive, first-look deal to produce at least one film.

The personnel shifts are the latest in an ongoing effort by Hemdale execs to shore up the operation, which recently has defaulted on payments to vendors and creditors.

The company, which will lay off about 20 staffers, also expects to change its name in the next 90 days. The move is geared to reflect a focus on homevideo releases and international TV sales.

Though Hemdale is expected to post significant financial losses for 1994, sources indicate it is not a repeat of the events of late 1992, when the company was forced into involuntary bankruptcy by its creditors.

Hemdale, a publicly traded company with annual sales of around $31 million, is negotiating with its banks – including Credit Lyonnais – and has hired investment banking firm Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin to seek out additional funding sources.

Execs at Hemdale say it has been able to make payment arrangements with several creditors, and expects to weather this latest financial storm.

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