Chris deFaria has been tapped to run the recently merged animation, visual effects and digital production department at Warner Bros. Pictures. He’ll serve as exec veep of the unit.

As head of the new department, deFaria will manage animation projects and visual effects-intensive scripts, explore co-production opportunities with outside animation studios and utilize cutting-edge technology, among other duties.

He also will continue to oversee visual effects for all features and direct-to-DVD projects, having previously served as senior VP of physical production and visual effects for the studio.

Warner Bros. Pictures prexy of physical production Steve Papazian said the new unit will allow the studio to “develop the very best digital artistry worldwide in support of our filmmakers,” and that deFaria’s unique talents further that aim.

DeFaria and his team are working on upcoming releases including “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” Zack Snyder’s “300” and Roland Emmerich’s “10,000 B.C.” He also worked on “Happy Feet,” the animated toon which bows Friday.

Recent titles deFaria worked on include “Troy,” “The Polar Express,” “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” He also was involved with the previous “Harry Potter” pics and the “Matrix” franchise.

DeFaria, who has been at the studio for a decade, is expected to bring in another senior exec in the coming weeks.