Prague's Barrandov Studioshas replaced CEO Radomir Docekal with Veslava Piegzova, formerly head ofinternal audit at Barrandov majority owner Moravia Steel.
Moravia Steel spokespersonDusana Chrenekova told local press that the change was made to make the studios'more effective'.
Local insiders interpretthat to mean that Barrandov is seeking to compete with production serviceproviders, such as Stillking Films and Prague Studios, for a larger share ofthe Czech Republic's production market, estimated to be worth $300 millionannually.
Docekal is credited withturning Barrandov around since he took the reigns in 1997.
The timing of the news hassurprised the local industry, coming just a week after Barrandov announced thatit was in negotiations with Eon Productions to host the shoot of the next JamesBond film Casino Royale.
Prague Studios generalmanager Tomas Krejci said attempts to compete with local production serviceproviders would be 'an uphill battle'. Krejci told ScreenDaily.com: "Thefilm business itself is so based on personal relations that it will be a verydifficult thing for Barrandov to do."
Barrandov did not respondwhen asked why it chose Piegzova, who does not have a background in the filmindustry, to replace Docekal.
Moravia Steel, which hascontrolled Barrandov since 1996, has tried to sell the studios several timesbut withdrew such plans after the studios started to show more promisingresults.