U exec veep ankles post

Korchek exits in wake of Finkelstein bump

In what insiders are calling a direct reaction to Tuesday’s appointment of Universal Pictures prexy Rick Finkelstein, U exec VP of legal and business affairs Jeffrey Korchek has abruptly ankled his post.

Korchek, who has been the studio’s top business affairs exec, is expected to stay on for another two weeks to finish up some projects before he leaves.

Apparently, Finkelstein’s new appointment as chief dealmaker and business affairs supremo (Daily Variety, Nov. 17) prompted the 12-year U veteran’s choice to ankle.

Though Korchek could not be reached for comment, sources close to the situation described the split as “totally amicable.”

Sources said Korchek had a clause in his contract that guaranteed he would answer directly to U chairman Stacey Snider — which Finkelstein’s appointment would have nullified, making Korchek answer instead to the new prexy.

This gave Korchek the opportunity either to renegotiate his terms or ask to be released, taking whatever salary remains on his contract with him.

Apparently, with roughly a year left on that contract, Korchek chose the latter.

“(Korchek) saw it as an opportunity to move on after 12 years with the company,” a source said, adding that had he stayed, Korchek would effectively have signed up to do the same job, rather than advancing in his career.

Korchek is said not to have immediate plans for the future, though the well-liked industry veteran has no shortage of options as he mulls it over.

This exit caps a busy autumn for U that has seen several high-level exec shuffles: Studio co-chair Brian Mulligan recently segued to corporate studio parent Seagram as its chief financial officer, leaving Snider flying solo as chairman. Kevin Misher was also recently upped to production prexy for the studio.