Robert Cort has promoted execs Scarlett Lacey and Eric Hetzel to VPs of production at his Paramount-based shingle.

Move comes on the heels of Cort reupping his first-look deal with the studio and closing a partnership with Grant Johnson and Taylor Reinhart, principals of Open Water Entertainment, to provide private equity for script acquisition and development. As a result, he noted, his shingle has the ability to purchase and develop material with its own resources.

“I’m delighted to give Eric and Scarlett added responsibility for finding and producing the 50 projects I hope to initiate over the next three years,” Cort said. “They are enormously talented and dedicated executives.”

Both execs started working with Cort in 1996 at the inception of The Cort/Madden Co.

Lacey most recently served as exec producer on Par’s “Against the Ropes,” which stars Meg Ryan and Omar Epps and is slated for a February release. She previously served as associate producer on the Cort/Madden production of Paramount’s “Save the Last Dance.”

Hetzel oversaw production of the “Save the Last Dance” pilot for Fox and, most recently served as co-producer on Cort/Madden’s Fox telepic “The Rats.”