Universal Ups Key Business Affairs Exec

Exec helps manage important studio financing relationships

Abhijay Prakash Universal

With its biggest financing deal poised to end, Universal has upped one of its key business affairs execs, Abhijay Prakash, to exec VP of the studio’s business development and strategic planning division.

Prakash helps manage many of the studio’s financing relationships, and his role has increased in recent years as U – like all the majors – has sought to manage risk with outside partnerships. As Universal’s slate deal with Elliott Management comes to a close, the studio is exploring new ways to help finance its films, bringing on Legendary Entertainment as a partner last month.

“During the time we have worked together at Universal, I have come to rely heavily on Abhijay’s advice and support as we work to expand Universal’s opportunities in the ever growing and changing marketplace,” said U president Jimmy Horowitz in an announcement on Prakash’s hiring on Wednesday.

Prakash will report to Horowitz, as well as president and chief distribution officer Peter Levinsohn, In his new role, Prakash will continue to analyze greenlight material and work closely with senior management at Focus Features. He also represents Universal on the board of digital streaming company Prima Cinema.

Prakash will also help the studio’s budgeting and planning processes as well as drive “major growth initiatives,” according to Wednesday’s announcement.

Before joining Universal, Prakash worked as a consultant in the media and entertainment practice of the Boston Consulting Group, and has held positions at MTV Networks and IGN Entertainment. He received an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in economics from Princeton.