BV ups Garner and Jacobson

New co-prexys to oversee Touchstone, Disney, Hollywood labels

Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group announced Monday the promotions of Todd Garner and Nina Jacobson to co-presidents, overseeing the Touchstone, Walt Disney and Hollywood Pictures labels.

The duo take over duties formerly held by David Vogel, who last week ankled his post as president of Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group (Daily Variety, April 28). In a separate official announcement issued Monday, Walt Disney Studios said that Vogel “has decided to leave his post … to pursue a variety of interests in the entertainment industry.”

While it had been expected that Garner and Jacobson would take over Vogel’s duties (Daily Variety, May 3), until Monday’s announcement it was unclear whether these expanded roles would come with new titles.

Garner and Jacobson will report to Walt Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth and prexy Peter Schneider.

Unlike the previous two-head regime when Vogel oversaw the Walt Disney and Hollywood Pictures banners and Donald De Line ran the Touchstone division, in this new management structure, Garner and Jacobson will oversee development and production for all three Buena Vista divisions. It is expected, because of their previous associations, that Garner’s emphasis will remain on Touchstone and Jacobson’s focus will continue with the Walt Disney and Hollywood labels, although they each have freedom for oversight over all divisions.

“They are both exceptionally talented production executives with great track records,” said Roth. “I hope they don’t take this in the wrong way, but they are a perfect inside-outside combination, with Todd working the outside and Nina the inside. And we didn’t want to lose that.”

The promotions are the latest in a string of management changes at the studio. Schneider assumed oversight of live-action production in January. In the summer of 1998, Vogel was named to his former post — which combined the Touchstone, Disney and Hollywood film companies under the BV Motion Picture Group — after he won an internal tug-of-war with then Touchstone prexy De Line. Since then, De Line has left the company and established a production company on the Paramount lot.

Garner, who was upped from exec VP of BV Motion Pictures Group, started with Touchstone Pictures nine years ago as a creative exec and embarked on a steady succession of promotions. During his tenure at Disney, Garner has worked on such pics as “The Waterboy,” “Con Air,” “Father of the Bride” (and its sequel) and “Nothing to Lose.”

Garner has had a hand in the development and production of such upcoming Touchstone pics as “Son of Sam,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Coyote Ugly” and “Hi-Fidelity.” Garner also has oversight on the Disney project, “O’ Brother Where Art Thou.”

Jacobson joined Walt Disney Pictures/Hollywood Pictures in 1998 as exec VP of production. Since then, she has been responsible for overseeing such upcoming pics as Hollywood Pictures’ “The Sixth Sense” and “Mission to Mars.”

Jacobson joined Disney from DreamWorks, where she had been since 1995. Before that, she served as senior VP of production at Universal, where she had a hand in the making of “Twelve Monkeys,” “Dazed and Confused” and “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story,” among others.