Warner Bros Pictures France's Francis Boespflug is leaving the company, Warner announced today. Most recently, the industry veteran served as managing director production and distribution for the French arm of the US major.

Boespflug, who had been with the company for 12 years, cited personal reasons for his departure.

Boespflug was instrumental in positioning Warner France as a major partner to the French production community and helped increase the studio's activities in producing, acquiring and distributing local-language films in their country of origin.

Under his stewardship Warner France acquired and distributed such blockbuster films as Thomas Gilou's La Verite Si Je Mens 2, Merzak Allouache's Chouchou, Alain Berberian and Frederic Forestier's Le Boulet and 2006's highest grossing film of the year Les Bronzes 3 from director Patrice Leconte.

Boespflug also notably produced Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 2004 film A Very Long Engagement via his 2003 Productions. The film, although French from top to bottom, caused controversy in France when it was ultimately deemed ineligible for French subsidies owing to the financial structure of 2003, which some groups contended was controlled by Warner in the US.

Warner France will release Jeunet's upcoming Micmacs in France in October and Anne Fontaine's Coco Avant Chanel, starring Audrey Tautou, in April.

'This is not a decision that I have come to lightly,' said Boespflug in a statement. 'Warner Bros has been my home for many years now and I am extremely proud of the work we have accomplished during my tenure However, there comes a time when you must examine all that is going on in your life and truly weigh your priorities. This is the simple case here. It's now my desire to dedicate my time, energy and attention to other aspects of my life.

Warner's executive vice president, international, Richard Fox said: 'I certainly respect and even admire Francis' decision. We will benefit from Francis' contributions in establishing our local-language initiative in France and truly establishing Warner Bros as an important production partner for years to come. Francis, you will be missed.'