Veteran TV exec Peter Smith is stepping down as managing director of MBC Studios, the production arm of top Middle East broadcaster MBC Group.

Smith, a former president of NBCUniversal, had joined Saudi-owned MBC in 2018 as it ramped up production while launching its Shahid VIP streaming service, alongside its linear channels. Over the following four years he oversaw a burst in production activity as MBC Studios pumped hundreds of millions of dollars in high-end productions in Saudi Arabia as part of the ongoing effort to help kickstart the kingdom’s nascent industry. MBC moved its headquarters from Dubai to Riyadh last year.

Smith has lead the production of many flagship MBC Studios shows, including “Rashash, Rise of the Witches”; “The Devil’s Promise,” which is a series created by Tony Jordan (“Life on Mars”) helmed by British director Colin Teague; “Slave Market”; and big-budget Saudi actioner “Desert Warrior,” featuring an all-star international cast led by “Captain America” star Anthony Mackie and Aiysha Hart (“Mogul Mowgli,” “Colette”). 

MBC CEO Sam Barnett in a statement thanked Smith “for his hard work and dedication during his tenure.” He said Smith will continue to act as advisor to the group, particularly on the production of “Desert Warrior” and the distribution of premium content.

 Barnett said Smith’s successor as MBC Studios chief would be named “in due course, in coming days.”

Smith’s exit first surfaced in an internal memo in early January. No reason has been given by MBC for his departure.

News that Smith is stepping from MBC Studios was first reported by Deadline.