Tony Garland has left Universal Studios Networks (USN), where he was president, in order to concentrate on other interests.

The long-anticipated move sees Bibiane Godfroid become the unchallenged head of channels and services within the Canal Plus Group, the film and TV arm of Vivendi Universal.

In a statement, the company said that it had "decided to create a single ensemble of premium and thematic channels including the Universal television brands," which Garland had presided over. These include USN's 13th Street, Studio Universal, The Studio, Sci-Fi and USA Network Latin America and USA Network Brazil.

Earlier this year Garland had been tipped to take over at Multithematiques, the group of thematic channels developed by Canal Plus, as a means of reassuring key shareholder Liberty Media. But the decision to fold Universal's specialist channels into a division with Canal Plus' strands, appears to give a Canal Plus executive the upper hand.

Godfroid said: "Tony's vision and management skills have largely contributed to the success of USN [and] their award-winning creativity, consistent market leadership and rapid growth."