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Revamped Focus Features Announces Key Appointments

Peter Schlessel, who took the reins at Focus Features following the firing of James Schamus, has spent weeks trimming down the operation; now he’s turning his attention to firming up his executive team. With time dwindling before the January launch of Universal’s restructured specialty division, Focus announced several senior executive appointments, including a new COO and EVP of business affairs, on Thursday.

Schlessel joined Focus Features from the three-year-old L.A.-based distrib FilmDistrict, which is being absorbed by Focus. Most of Thursday’s appointments see the shift of former FilmDistrict execs into similar posts at Focus Features. Hirings follow Wednesday’s news that Focus Features International will shutter London-based operations at the end of the year.

FilmDistrict’s Beth Lemberger has been tapped as executive VP of business affairs. She’ll join Howard Meyers, the company’s current EVP of business affairs, production. Both will report to Schlessel, while a new SVP of business affairs, FilmDistrict’s Kevin Monroe, will report to Lemberger.

Robert Gibson will continue in his capacity as chief financial officer and senior VP of finance, reporting to the newly appointed COO, Adrian Alperovich, who held the same post at FilmDistrict.

Brad Goldberg will serve as exec VP of marketing, and will report to Focus’ president of marketing, Christine Birch. Focus has appointed Tracy Pollard as senior VP of creative advertising; Pollard will also report to Birch. Goldberg, Birch and Pollard all join Focus from FilmDistrict.

Joshua McLaughlin will continue to hold the position of  senior VP of production for Focus, reporting to prexy of production Jeb Brody. Louis Phillips will stay on as exec VP of physical production and will report to Alperovich.

FilmDistrict’s Abby Ex has been tapped as senior VP of acquisitions. She will report to Lia Buman, president of acquisitions at Focus Features.

As Focus Features transitions over the next several months, the company’s exec VP of strategic planning, business affairs and acquisitions, Avy Eschenasy, will serve as an advisor to Schlessel, Alperovich and Lemberger.

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