Universal Pictures International has appointed Karel De Vries as managing director of its operations in the Netherlands. He replaces Max Van Praag, who is leaving the post after 23 years with Universal.

De Vries will join UPI at the end of September to work with Van Praag on the transition, and he will then officially take the new post at the beginning of 2009.

De Vries will report to London-based Duncan Clark, executive vice president of international distribution and on daily business to Niels Swinkels, VP sales & distribution, EMEA.

De Vries comes from Warner Bros Holland, where he supervised theatrical sales since 1999. He is also a veteran of MGM Home Entertainment, RCV, Kiseki and Movies Select Video/PolyGram Video.

'We are extremely pleased to welcome Karel to Universal Pictures International, where his excellent business relationships, as well as his professional experience, will enable him to make great contributions to our presence in Holland,' said UPI president David Kosse. 'We also want to thank Max Van Praag, whose expertise and experience over the past 23 years has been an integral part of Universal and UIP's huge success in the region.'