Summit int’l chief David Garrett to exit

Exec's departure comes as Lionsgate integrates staffers

A month after Summit merged with Lionsgate, Summit co-founder and president of international David Garrett is preparing to ankle the company, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Reasons behind Garrett’s resignation were not immediately clear, but observers told Variety that the exec became emotional when speaking of the merger last week while attending the Berlin Film Festival. It’s unclear when Garrett will formally depart the company.

Word of Garrett’s move comes as Lionsgate begins the integration of Summit staffers into its film operations, spurring movement among execs from both sides. Last week, Summit’s Erik Feig was named production prexy of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, while the former occupant of that post, Alli Shearmur, is expected to segue to a producing deal.

Garrett, Patrick Wachsberger and Bob Hayward officially launched Summit in 1993 as a production, distribution and sales operation. The company’s profile grew in recent years as it scored with the “Twilight” franchise and fielded a best-picture Oscar winner with “The Hurt Locker.”

As recently as this past week, sources indicated that Summit’s and Lionsgate’s sales operations will continue as is for the rest of 2012, with both operations — Summit’s headed by Garrett and Lionsgate’s by Helen Lee Kim — reporting to Patrick Wachsberger.

Garrett’s resignation will come as a shock to most international bizzers as the industry stalwart has headed up Summit’s headquarters since November 1993 and is largely considered one of the most esteemed sales execs in the business.

He served as international supervisor over Summit-produced, co-produced and acquired titles such as “American Pie,” “Memento,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” Babel” and Brit productions such as “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” in addition to selling international rights to titles such as “The Hurt Locker,” “Source Code,” “Red” and the “Twilight” franchise.

In Berlin, the exec has pre-sold Alcon-produced “Beautiful Creatures” to a number of territories including Entertainment in Blighty and Concorde in Germany.

Garrett started his career in the industry in 1981 by producing and marketing docus.

He was a pioneer in the early days of U.K. cable and satellite TV development and launched a slew of channels in Blighty before eventually serving a stint as head of acquisitions of the movie channel on BSB.

He set up The Summit Group’s London offices in 1991.

(Diana Lodderhose contributed to this article.)

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