Universal’s president of international distribution David Kosse has been promoted to president of international as the studio expands its global focus.

In his new position the UK-based Kosse will play a broader strategic role exploiting Universal releases across the international divisions including home entertainment, television and theatrical distribution.

The executive will continue to run Universal Pictures International (UPI), the studio’s stand-alone overseas marketing and distribution company that he built, which launched on January 1 2007 following the dissolution of Universal-Paramount’s international joint marketing and distribution venture UIP. He continues to report to Universal Pictures chairmen Mark Shmuger and David Linde.

Under Kosse’s stewardship UPI wasted little time establishing its credentials and generated two of Universal’s best years at the overseas box office. The company exceeded $1bn in ticket sales in 2007 and improved 67% in 2008 to reach $1.714bn, fuelled by the $459m overseas success of Mamma Mia!.

Kosse will work closely with the president of Universal Pictures International Home Entertainment Eddie Cunningham, who reports to vice-chairman of Universal Pictures and executive vice-president of Universal Studios Rick Finkelstein, and president of international television distribution Belinda Menendez, who reports to Finkelstein and president of NBCU International Pete Smith. 

“David understands global markets better than anyone in our business and has been a primary reason for the success of UPI,” Shmuger and Linde said in a joint statement. “This promotion is a much-deserved recognition of his enormous contributions to shaping and enhancing Universal’s international profile.

“As our company expands to become even more globally focused, his experience and steady hand will provide greater leadership across Universal’s film divisions.”

“This company recognises the need to maintain a global focus and international concentration that capitalises on the unique and ever-changing markets outside of the US,” Kosse said. “This new role will allow me to build on what we’ve done at UPI and give further support to my partners in home entertainment and television.”

Kosse became president of UPI in July 2006 and managed the transition from UIP. From 2004 he served as UIP’s president of international marketing and distribution and prior to that ran Momentum Pictures. He also served as chairman of Universal Pictures UK.

Kosse started his studio career at Polygram in 1993 as senior director of marketing video, setting up the US division and eventually rising to the position of senior vice-president.