Gary Smith, who foundedWinchester Entertainment in 1996, has resigned from the company to pursue otherinterests following the purchase earlier this year of Cobalt Media Capital fromAlton Irby and John Muse.

Smith told Screendailyyesterday that he was glad to have the flexibility to pursue interests in andout of the film business and that, after the restructuring of the companyfollowing the Cobalt acquisition, he was "delighted" that Muse andIrby were on board to run Winchester.

Shawn Taylor, who came fromCobalt and is the group's chief operating and financial officer, willassume the chief executive's responsibilities on an interim basis. Thecompany will look for a permanent chief executive "in due course"according to the statement released to the UK stock exchange by the publiclytraded Winchester.

Smith remains the biggestshareholder in Winchester; he is also a shareholder and non-executive directorin the UK's The Base Group.

Since Smith founded thecompany, Winchester has produced and financed films including Heartbreakers starring Sigourney Weaver and Gene Hackman, LastOrders with Michael Caine and BobHoskins and Scorched with WoodyHarrelson and John Cleese.

Smith and Winchester'sLos Angeles-based president Hadeel Reda made inroads into Hollywood, forgingrelationships and production deals with The Donners Co and Wind Dancer Filmsamong others.