×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

EuropaCorp CEO Marc Shmuger to Exit, Luc Besson to Take Interim Job (EXCLUSIVE)

The EuropaCorp CEO is stepping down after less than two years in the job

After less than two years in the post, Marc Shmuger is stepping down as CEO of EuropaCorp at the end of the year. The former Universal Pictures chairman was hired on a renewable six-month contract and last extended his tenure at the end of June.

Shmuger told the staff Friday of his imminent departure from the company, which he joined in 2016 to replace Christophe Lambert. There is no immediate plan to name a successor. EuropaCorp founder Luc Besson will assume interim CEO responsibilities starting Jan. 1.

Europacorp and Shmuger confirmed to Variety that the exit is both voluntary and amicable. But it comes as the company faces a financial storm intensified by the disappointing performance of sci-fi epic “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” EuropaCorp posted record losses of $135 million during the last financial year and recently posted a loss warning, and its stock value has been falling dramatically. Edouard de Vesinne, the deputy CEO of the company, was ousted in September.

Shmuger will exit his seven-figure-salary post when his current six-month contractual period runs out. Sources at EuropaCorp said he had told the board back in June, before the release of “Valerian,” that this term would be his last.

Speaking to Variety, Shmuger said his departure coincided with the company’s scaled-back strategy, which he presented to shareholders last month. The shift in strategy will see the studio reduce its slate drastically and produce two to three English-language films a year and two French movies a year. To climb out of the red, the company is also considering selling its French TV activity and its 500-title French film library, which it bought from Roissy Films in 2007, a source close to EuropaCorp said.

Shmuger will continue his relationship with the company as a senior advisor as well as producer on Besson’s “Anna,” which will be distributed in many territories worldwide by Lionsgate.

During his tenure as CEO, Shmuger has overseen the sale of non-core assets, raised funds through new equity infusions, restructured the company’s debt, and reduced overhead costs by a third. He also structured a theatrical distribution deal with STX and a home-entertainment deal with Lionsgate, and assembled the financing and distribution for “Anna.”

“From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Luc and my amazing colleagues in Paris and Los Angeles for the opportunity I’ve had to lead this incredible company,” Shmuger said. “Driven by Luc’s vision, and through the strength of some of the best executives I’ve worked with in my many years in the business, I leave EuropaCorp with great friends, memories and relationships which I will always cherish.”

“Marc has been a friend for over 20 years and is one of my closest advisors,” Besson added. “He came into EuropaCorp at a crucial time for the company and brought much-needed leadership, experience, industry knowledge and vision – all of which he provided to me personally and to the company in extraordinary ways, for which I’ll be forever grateful.”

More Film

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    North American Box Office Declines From Last Year With Weak Presidents Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” easily won a tepid Presidents Day weekend with a $34.2 million at 3,790 North American locations, estimates showed Monday. Overall domestic moviegoing for 2019 has plunged 22.1% to $1.24 billion as of Monday, according to Comscore. That’s $350 million below the same date a year ago and the lowest figure at this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content