Universal Pictures has officially confirmed that it has appointed former Motion Picture Association Of America media communications chief Kori Bernards to serve as the studio's media strategist and trade and business press contact.

Bernards will start in her new role as senior vice president of media relations on August 4 and reports to executive vice president of publicity Michael Moses. She fills the void left by Stacy Ivers, who is understood to be setting up her own PR business.

Moses said his new colleague was 'part-strategist, part-diplomat, part-wizard and part-counsellor' who was 'uniquely prepared to excel at the job.'

At the MPAA, Bernards served as senior political and communications aide to three of the highest-ranking members of the US House Of Representatives - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey.

She began her career in Washington DC as special assistant to the director of communications at the US Department Of Health And Human Services and as a legislative correspondent to US Representative Rosa DeLauro.