Exec veepee Barker exits U prod’n post

Kate Barker has ankled her post as exec VP of production at Universal Pictures, the studio where she has spent the last eight years.

While Barker will continue to supervise U’s December release “The Boxer,” she will begin phasing out of her other executive duties within the next couple of weeks. She said she has no immediate plans to work elsewhere in the film industry, adding that after she and her husband complete a cross-country drive, they would settle at their farm in Bucks County, Pa.

Barker’s exit follows directly on the heels of Universal production senior VP Diane Cairns’ decision to leave the studio after little more than a year in position. Barker said she had not been forced to ankle her position, and that the decision was entirely hers.

“I graduated from film school in 1977,” said Barker, “and this September I will have been in the film business for 20 years.

“I don’t know what it’s like to relax, not have to read scripts — I just don’t know what it’s like to be unencumbered by work. It’s safe to say I don’t have a specific plan for the future.”

During her tenure at the studio, Barker served in a number of exec capacities, including production liaison to Steven Spielberg’s U-based Amblin Entertainment Co., working on its feature films, including “Schindler’s List,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Flintstones.”

She also supervised development and production of “In the Name of the Father,” “Twister,” “Casper” and “Babe.”

“Kate is one of the best creative executives I have worked with,” said Universal chairman Casey Silver. “Universal is really going to miss her. I wish her all the best with her personal pursuits on the East Coast.”

Barker joined Universal in 1989 as director of development, after having served as a creative exec at Touchstone/Disney; prior to that she served as director of development at David Vogel Prods.

She was promoted to VP of production at Universal a year after she joined the studio. In 1994, she was named senior VP, production and feature animation. In January 1996, Barker was promoted to exec VP, production, for the studio, taking over a slot left open after Joseph Singer stepped down to return to being a producer.

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