Martin Bachmann, senior vice president international marketing at the headquarters of Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI), is to succeed Juergen Schau as Managing Director, Germany.

Bachmann has been at CTFDI since 1989 where he began as a management trainee at the German office in Munich before being promoted to the post of marketing director in 1993 and then moving to Culver City in 2000.

"Having worked closely with Martin during the past three years, I am confident there is no one more capable of heading up our efforts in our biggest theatrical market outside of North America," commented Jeff Blake, vice-chairman SPE and president of worldwide marketing and distribution, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.

58-year-old Schau, who headed up CTFDI's German outpost since 1989 and oversaw its move from Munich to Berlin in 2000, will continue in his role as the managing director of Global Entertainment Productions (GEP), a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Releasing, with responsibility for production activities in Germany.

In his function at GEP, Schau was involved in the administration of the media funds launched for SPE by the Commerzbank's CFB Commerz Fonds Beteiligungsgesellschaft which raised some Euros 300m to invest in films like Joel Schumacher's 8mm, Rob Minkoff's Stuart Little, Danny Cannon's I Still Don't Know What You Did Last Summer and Sydney Pollack's Random Hearts.

Independent of the Commerzbank fund, Schau had also been instrumental in getting SPE subsidiary Screen Gems and Franchise Pictures to come to Berlin to shoot the action thriller Half Past Dead in Germany at the beginning of 2002.

Schau will also be responsible for seeing that SPE fulfils the investment and support agreement concluded in February 1998 with the federal state of Brandenburg, which is supposed to see the US major committing to invest Euros 50m over a seven-year period in "a broad range of media and other entertainment products".

This alliance with Brandenburg came at the same time as the launch of SPE's production arm Deutsche Columbia TriStar Film Production under Andrea Willson as part of the US major's "larger presence in Germany". That production outfit, which was later renamed Deutsche Columbia Pictures Filmproduction (DCPF), was closed down in March of this year.