Moving to boost its Europeanpresence and ramp up worldwide sales, acquisitions and overseas production,Focus Features has hired former Pathe Pictures International sales chief AlisonThompson as president of its international division.

Thompson will remain inLondon and oversee all international sales, distribution, and publicityactivities, reporting to Focus co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus andchief operating officer Andrew Karpen.

Meanwhile Mike Runagallreplaces Thompson as head of international sales at Pathe; Runagall has workedalongside Thompson for the last three years as international sales manager.

Thompson will also workclosely on all facets of European production and acquisitions with productionchief John Lyons, senior vice president of acquisitions Jason Resnick and vicepresident of acquisitions and productions Lee Magiday.

The New York-based AllisonSilver, Tim Spencer, and Heta Paarte are taking on additional responsibilitiesand will each report to Thompson.

Silver was recently promotedto vice president of international physical production after arriving at Focusas production executive in 2002. Spencer is the company's vice president ofinternational sales and Paarte is vice president of international marketing,and both have been with the company since its inception.

Thompson's appointment fillsthe gap left by Glen Basner, who departed as executive vice president ofinternational sales in early June to become president of international at TheWeinstein Company.

Prior to joining Pathe,Thompson served as chief executive of The Sales Company throughout the 1990sand represented more than 100 titles. She began her career with the RankOrganisation and Channel Four and is currently co-chair of Film Export UK.

Pathe and Focus recentlycollaborated on The Motorcycle Diaries, which Focus released in North America during last year's awardsseason.

"With an exceptional teamalready in place and at work on our increased slate, we are pleased to haveAlison joining us to take Focus International to new heights," Linde andSchamus said in a joint statement.

"Her wealth of expertise inworldwide sales and distribution, coupled with her established relationshipswith top filmmakers, make her uniquely qualified to captain the continuedexpansion of Focus in the international marketplace."

"I have always admiredFocus' initiatives, which is what sets them apart from any other film company,"Thompson added. "I look forward to working closely with David and James as weincrease overseas production, European presence, and worldwide sales anddistribution."

"We are extremely gratefulto Alison for helping turn Pathe Pictures International into the leadingEuropean sales company and we wish her well in her new position," Pathe UKmanaging director Francois Ivernel said.

Runagall is expected toappoint a sales executive shortly.

"Mike Runagall is a truecinephile, having started his career in the British Film Institute beforemoving into international sales at Film Four," Ivernel said.

"He is a terrific teamplayer and has accrued the experience and contacts necessary to drive ourinternational business forward."