Hong Kong film production and distribution company Media Asia Group has announced the reassignment of group managing director Thomas Chung, ending speculation that Chung would leave the company.

At a board meeting last Friday, Chung was appointed as executive director, concentrating on producing The Touch, a $20 million joint venture between Media Asia and Michelle Yeoh's Mythical Films. Chung remains on Media Asia Group's (MAG) board, but stands down as managing director.

Peter Lam, chairman of MAG's board of directors, called Chung's departure a "mutual agreement."

Stepping in is CEO Jerry Liu, who will largely assume Chung's responsibilities, although he says he will have "a narrower scope of responsibility." Liu, a fund-raiser for MAG, will oversee the financial, legal and administrative aspects as well as plans for the company's public listing. The operational aspects (production and distribution) formerly handled by Chung will fall under deputy managing director Wellington Fung and head of production John Chong.

It was also announced that Nansun Shi, an executive with the defunct Cinema City production company and wife of director-producer Tsui Hark, has been appointed vice chair of MAG's board.

"The moves are simply a reflection of the shareholders exerting their influence," said Liu, referring to Esun Holdings, of which Lam is chairman. In July, Esun Holdings gained a controlling interest of 39% when it bought the 13% stake owned by Lark International Multimedia, a group that operates Hong Kong's UA cinemas.

"There will continue to be the same focus on our core of distribution and copyright licensing and building up our manufacturing and supply of videos," said Liu.