DreamWorks Animation has hired Focus Features and Universal Pictures veteran Abhijay Prakash as its chief operating officer.
He will be responsible for the studio’s strategic planning and primary business operations, including finance, business development, technology, and administrative functions. The appointment was announced on Friday by DreamWorks Animation Group president Chris deFaria.
“On behalf of the amazing team of artists, filmmakers, and executives at DreamWorks, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Abhijay to our leadership team as the next chapter of this legendary studio takes shape,” deFaria said. “Abhijay is one of the most respected executives in the Universal family, recognized for his integrity, business acumen, and most recently for his invaluable contributions to Focus Features, and we look forward to working with him to strategically grow and expand this beloved brand.”
Prakash will also serve as a bridge between DreamWorks Animation and Universal Pictures. “How to Train Your Dragon 3” will be the first DreamWorks feature released by Universal Pictures — on March 1, 2019.
There are currently five other movies in production at DreamWorks. The appointment will be effective in the coming weeks, with Prakash providing transition support to Focus Features until the end of the year and through awards season.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Chris and the leadership team at DreamWorks and look forward to this opportunity to grow the business during such an exciting time at the studio,” Prakash said. “I want to thank my long-time friends and colleagues, Peter Kujawski and Robert Walak, as well as the exceptional Focus team.”
Before working at Focus, he served as exec VP for film strategy and operations at Universal. Prior to Universal, he worked at the Boston Consulting Group, and also held other positions in media and worked as a public policy researcher.
NBCUniversal acquired DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion a year ago, which made it a division of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group.