Will Clarke will depart the company at the end of the year to go into business with his Optimum co-founder Paul Higgins.

Founder and CEO of Optimum Releasing Will Clarke is leaving the company to set up his own media outfit. He will be replaced by Danny Perkins, who currently heads up distribution at Optimum. Perkins will take up the post of CEO on September 1st.

Clarke, who established Optimum Releasing in 1999, will leave at the end of the year to set up a media company with longtime business partner and co-founder of Optimum, Paul Higgins.

The new company, which will include production activity, will retain links with Optimum’s parent company StudioCanal concerning various productions and developments, whilst Clarke and Higgins will take up the roles of “special advisors” to the board.  

In his new role as CEO of Optimum, Perkins head up all UK operations, reporting to StudioCanal CEO Olivier Courson. He has been at the company since its formation in 1999.

Clarke said of his imminent departure: “I’m extremely proud of what has been achieved at Optimum and have loved every minute of this wonderful journey. I particularly want to thank my friend and colleague Danny Perkins who with Paul has been involved in this with me from the very beginning. We also want to wish our friends at StudioCanal every success and would like to thank Olivier Courson and Romain Bessi for their belief in our little company.  Paul and I also look forward to continuing to work with StudioCanal in the future. We specifically want to thank everyone who has worked at Optimum over the last 11 years, we couldn’t have done it without you and we will miss you very much. It is now time for a new adventure and we look forward to sharing details of our plans in the coming months”.

Perkins added: ” I am extremely honoured to be taking on the role of chief executive of Optimum Releasing at such an exciting time for the Company. With the support of StudioCanal we have seen Optimum develop phenomenally in the last few years and I am incredibly excited about the opportunities that leading the UK operation of Europe’s biggest film company present. I could not ask to work with 2 better friends then Will and Paul and I am looking forward to continuing the journey that we started in 1999.”

Meanwhile StudioCanal boss Courson said: “I would like first of all to thank Will for everything he has done in helping Optimum grow and become an integral part of StudioCanal.  I am very proud of the work we accomplished together in making Optimum a key player in the industry.  But we have only been able to succeed because of a very dedicated, professional and talented team, whom I would like to thank and congratulate.  Danny Perkins has always played a prominent role at Optimum, and I know that he will be a great leader and a great manager for his team.   I am very pleased that Will and I will continue to work together because we have had a great relationship and he is a tremendous talent.  I wish him all the best.”