Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Donna Langley is putting together her kitchen cabinet, elevating several key executives to new roles and bringing others back to the studio from their posts at different divisions. The promotions come less than a month after Langley assumed her new role, replacing Jeff Shell as filmed entertainment group chair. Shell was named chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, a role that will leave him more focused on the company’s television business.
When it comes to Langley’s leadership team, Peter Levinsohn will continue as president and chief distribution officer, a role in which he oversees domestic theatrical distribution, global home entertainment, worldwide television distribution, new media and digital strategy, and film technology. Prior to joining Universal in 2013, Levinsohn spent 25 years at Fox, holding leadership roles in the company’s film studio and its new media, digital distribution, and interactive media arms.
Jimmy Horowitz will now serve as president and vice chairman of the filmed entertainment group, overseeing business and legal affairs, film strategy, and the company’s live stage business. In his new job, Horowitz will take on additional responsibility around physical production operations. He was previously president of the film division. Horowitz will manage the studio’s greenlight process alongside Langley and will have oversight of Universal’s production partners, a group that includes Illumination, Blumhouse Productions, Working Title, and Amblin Partners.
Abhijay Prakash will return to Universal in the role of president of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. He previously served as COO for DreamWorks Animation, and will transition over to the studio following the North American release of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” on Feb. 22. Prakash also had a stint as COO of Focus Features, Universal’s indie film division, and was an EVP of film strategy and operations for Universal Pictures. In his new capacity, Prakash will drive the studio’s strategic and long-range planning, while also overseeing its business operations, a mandate that extends to finance, business development, and administrative functions.
On the creative side, Peter Cramer was named to a new role as president of Universal Pictures and is responsible for the creative strategy of the studio’s live-action film slate. He will have direct oversight of creative development, and more active involvement in all aspects of production working closely with filmmakers. Cramer was previously president of production at Universal Pictures. He has been with Universal since 2005 and also had a stint at New Regency Productions, Daybreak Productions, and at HBO Films.
Langley’s prior role of Universal Pictures chairman is not being filled.
“When I assumed the role of Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, I quickly assessed that we have an incredibly strong leadership team already in place across the larger portfolio,” Langley said in a statement. “It was important to me to solidify this group in a way that best positions our studio to thrive in the rapidly evolving media landscape, which requires executives who bring expertise and a distinct perspective to the table. As this new chapter for our studio gets under way, I have full confidence in our team’s ability to collaborate across our organization and achieve success together during such a dynamic time for our industry.”
Additionally, Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski, DreamWorks Animation president Margie Cohn, international distribution chief Duncan Clark, and worldwide marketing president Michael Moses will continue to report to Langley.
Universal just scored a hit with “Glass,” a superhero mash-up film starring Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy. Its upcoming film releases include “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” “Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” and the big screen version of the Broadway hit “Cats.”