Roger Birnbaum announced on Wednesday (Oct 3) that he is stepping down from the joint leadership role at the studio to focus on producing.

The pair were appointed co-chairmen and co-CEOs of MGM in December 2010, in which time they have restructured the studio, bolstered the executive suite and struck a number of production and financing partnerships with US majors.

Birnbaum will remain in his offices in MGM’s executive suite and produce and develop projects exclusively for the company. His first role is to serve as executive producer and oversee production on José Padilha’s in-production Robocop reboot. The executive plans to produce films based on Death Wish, War Games and The Magnificent Seven.

Barber and Birnbaum will continue their long-term partnership at Spyglass Entertainment.

“Gary and I decided, two years ago, to accept the challenge of joining MGM and restoring the company to its rightful place in the industry,” Birnbaum said. “I am very proud of where MGM is today. I have been in the film business a long time, and my greatest passion has always been producing. Now is the time for me to return to what I love to do the most…producing films. And the fact that I will be producing for MGM, with Gary, my partner and friend will be very gratifying.”

“I respect Roger’s decision to return to his passion of ‘hands on’ producing, and we are thrilled he has chosen to stay at MGM on an exclusive basis,” Barber said. “We have been partners for almost 15 years and we have shared many successes together and I look forward to many more. I have the utmost confidence in Roger’s ability to produce many of our key upcoming productions, and I could not be happier that we will continue to work together.”

Over the past two years Barber and Birnbaum appointed Ken Schapiro COO, Jonathan Glickman as president of the motion picture group, Roma Khanna as president of television group and digital and Dene Stratton as CFO. All continue to report to Barber.

Barber and Birnbaum secured a distribution and co-financing partnership with Sony that includes The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 21 Jump Street and Skyfall, cemented a partnership with Warner Brothers/New Line Cinema on the Hobbit trilogy and partnered with Paramount on Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters and GI Joe: Retaliation.

In April 2011 they renewed the worldwide home entertainment distribution deal with Fox Home Entertainment and extended it through 2016.