Lindsay Law is leaving his post as president of Fox Searchlight Pictures to take up a wide-ranging production deal with 20th Century Fox, kicking off with the stage musical of his biggest hit The Full Monty.

The studio has yet to announce Law's replacement, although an appointment from within the Fox production ranks is rumoured to be most likely. Law leaves his position on Jan 21 and will immediately relocate to New York; he originally moved to Los Angeles to run Searchlight in Nov 1995, replacing Tom Rothman who is now president of 20th Century Fox Film Group.

Law said that he was keen to return to more hands-on work with film-makers and described the difficulties of running a so-called classics division in today's climate. "Running an indie offshoot like Searchlight you look for any way you can stay alive. All of these companies are spending far too much in marketing considering what the return is, and yet you need to make that

noise to differentiate your movie from all the others," he added.

Law said that his successor should have some breathing space, with a full slate of pictures ready for release in 2000 including Phil Kaufman's Quills with Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz-starrer Woman On Top and The Closer You Get, a new British comedy from Full Monty producer Uberto Pasolini.