Paramount Pictures chairman and chief executive officer Brad Grey is preparing a production department shake-up in the wake of Gail Berman's departure as president.

The studio confirmed today [Jan 10] that Berman quit after 18 months in the job, during which time her suitability has been debated and scrutinized incessantly.

Her television background and forthright management style reportedly ruffled a few feathers, although insiders said she had plenty of supporters at the studio's Melrose Avenue headquarters in Los Angeles. It is unclear what Berman plans to do next.

Since her arrival from Fox Broadcasting Company in March 2005, Berman shepherded several high profile projects such as Dreamgirls and World Trade Center, as well as Nacho Libre, Failure To Launch, and the recent release Freedom Writers.

'Gail's dedication in the last 18 months has been invaluable during this important and historic time at Paramount,' Grey said. 'We respect and appreciate her contributions in reshaping the direction of Paramount Pictures.'

'From my days on Broadway to my time at Regency Television and Fox and then Paramount, my passion has always been creating exciting entertainment,' Berman said. 'I'm grateful to Brad Grey for the chance to help bring great films to life and look forward to new professional opportunities ahead.'

Berman remains the only female executive to hold the top posts at a major film studio and television network. Prior to being president of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company, she was founding president of Regency Television.