Sauzay to head Pathe sales

Exec joins from StudioCanal

PARIS — Pathe topper Francois Ivernel has poached Muriel Sauzay from StudioCanal to head up the company’s newly restructured international sales division.

It’s not official yet, but Sauzay will segue from her current position as head of international sales at StudioCanal probably before the end of the summer, to her new role leading both Pathe’s U.K. and French sales teams.

French international sales topper Christine Hayet is expected to move into a new TV sales position, while U.K. international sales topper Mike Runagall will work with Sauzay on a slate of pics that includes Francis Ford Coppola’s “Youth Without Youth,” Jane Campion’s “Bright Star” and Ken Loach’s “It’s a Free World.”

French titles “Asterix and Obelix at the Olympic Games” and “Ocean,” Jacques Perrin’s follow up docu to “Winged Migration,” also form part of the company’s line up.

Exec reshuffle is the latest sign of a new dynamism at Pathe, which saw Ivernel promoted to head of production and distribution for the whole of the group earlier this year.

Under his leadership, the Gallic major’s Brit outpost Pathe Pictures U.K. collected the Palme d’Or in 2006 for Loach’s “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” and was behind Stephen Frear’s Oscar winning pic “The Queen.”

Another Pathe title, Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” was one of the buzz titles at Cannes, and won the best director prize.

Where Sauzay’s departure leaves StudioCanal remains to be seen, but it is the latest in a series of shake ups at the Canal Plus subsid, one of France’s biggest international sales players.

In Cannes, Sauzay and her team handled sales on pics including Cannes opener “My Blueberry Nights” and Mathieu Kassovitz’s Vin Diesel actioner “Babylon AD.”

StudioCanal changed theatrical distribution topper last year, but more significantly the subsid’s prexy Olivier Courson took over the operational reins, while managing director Frederic Sichler was dispatched to London to head up a new international office there.