Simon Hewlett, Universal Pictures’ president of international marketing, will be leaving the company in 2021, Variety has learned.
His impending exit comes after Universal began assessing its marketing and distribution structures this year with a goal of integrating its domestic and international teams into one global organization based out of its Los Angeles headquarters. That effort was initiated after Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, a former top executive at Warner Bros., took over as Universal’s president of international distribution. She assumed the role that was previously filled by Duncan Clark, who segued into a consultant position.
Hewlett was offered an opportunity to continue heading international marketing by relocating to the U.S. but ultimately decided to remain in the U.K., prioritizing his family over his job.
At the same time, Universal is undergoing a modest round of layoffs in its L.A. office, impacting the marketing department, Variety has learned. It’s unclear how many positions will be eliminated.
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Hewlett has agreed to stay on with the studio through next summer, which will allow him to continue the marketing push for such upcoming blockbusters as “F9” and “No Time to Die.” He also help provide guidance on the company’s search for his replacement, which Universal hopes will be identified and installed before the end of the year.
“I want to extend not just my gratitude but my sincerest admiration to Simon, both for how he has led the international team over the past many years and how he has chosen to remain a partner through this consolidation,” Michael Moses, president of worldwide marketing, said. “His example is the very model of leadership, and despite our pleading that he might find his way to L.A., we understand and support his decision.”
Hewlett joined Universal Pictures in 2006 as managing director and was responsible for building a new U.K. and Ireland theatrical distribution team. He assumed his current role as president of international marketing in 2016. Prior to joining Universal, Hewlett worked at 20th Century Fox as the U.K. marketing director, before becoming the U.K. managing director.