Leading German producer-distributor Constantin Film has announced that its current CEO Fred Kogel has extended his contract until the end of the year, but will then be succeeded in this position by the group's present supervisory board chairman Bernhard Burgener.

Kogel had replaced Bernd Eichinger as CEO in April 2003 and been additionally responsible for licence trading, TV entertainment production, legal affairs, human resources, corporate communications, investor relations and - since the beginning of 2008 following the departure of Thomas Peter Friedl - for distribution and marketing.

During Kogel's term of office, sales doubled and double-digit operating results and new record earnings were generated annually from 2004 thanks to his strategy of addiing to the film production and distribution operations by expanding the group's TV production activities to include TV entertainment and by integrating home entertainment and licence trading as new areas of business.

In an official press communique, Kogel stressed that Constantin Film had 'an excellent position in both Germany and Europe and is very well equipped for the future. The return to the company of the film library in the coming years means that solid foundations have been laid for corporate growth too.'

'What are important now are long-term strategic decision-making processes, which require a contract for at least three more years,' Kogel explained. 'I have decided not to make myself available again for a period of this length. After almost six years as Chief Executive Officer of Constantin Film AG, I would now like to devote myself to companies of my own as an entrepreneur again. I will be continuing my involvement in the media industry in future and will be building up my own corporate group.'

However, Constantin will have not to completely forgo on Kogel's knowhow in the future since an agreement was signed today to enable him to continue being associated with Constantin as a consultant in the core areas of TV production, licence trading and distribution from 2009 onwards.

Burgener, meanwhile, resigned today from his position as chairman of the supervisory board with effect from December 31, 2008 and has been appointed as the group's new CEO for three years from January 1, 2009.

The other members of Constantin Film's management board - Hanns Beese, Martin Moszkowicz and Franz Woodtli - will remain the same under Burgener.

Constantin is currently Germany's fourth most successful distributor this year with a 11.4% market share in the first four months thanks to such box-office successes as The Wave and Asterix And The Olympic Games.