Victor Loewy, the long-time head of Alliance AtlantisCommunication's distribution business, has resigned from his position ofchairman and director of Motion Picture Distribution LP (MPD). Also exiting thecompany is Patrice Theroux, another long-serving senior distribution executive,who leaves his post as president and CEO.
MPD is the leading Canadian film distributor, with sub-distributiondeals with leading US mini-majors, including Miramax, Dimension, The WeinsteinCompany, Focus Features and New Line. It also owns and operates UK distributor MomentumPictures and Spanish distributor Aurum.
Loewy's departure may have an immediate impact on on the NewLine deal. His continuing employment at MPD is a contractual requirement in thecompany's output agreement. MPD said it would seek to ensure continuity of therelationship.
Reached by telephone, Loewy refused to comment, sayingsimply, "I know as much as you." However, he and Theroux are expected to launch their own competing Canadian distribution outfit, possibly with New Line and the Weinstein Company as key suppliers.
The departure of MPD's senior-most executives marks the close of the Alliance chapter of thecompany, created through the merger of Alliance Communications and AtlantisCommunications; Loewy was a founder of the original Alliance with RobertLantos. Theroux was a long-time employee of pre-merger Alliance.
The announcement was issued this morning by MPD, which read:"The Motion Picture Distribution Board concluded amanagement change was necessary and in the best interest of MPDI."
There was an indication too that Alliance Atlantis is considering selling off its portion of MPD, which the company spun off as an income trust in 2003. "As we have previously stated, we are currently reviewing the strategic importance of the Motion Picture Distribution business and as promised, we will report back when this review has been concluded."
MPDalso announced the appointments of board member John Bailey as interim CEO and David Lazzarato, currently vice chairman of the board ofMPD as well as executive vice president and CFO of Alliance Atlantis, as boardchairman.
In a statement, Alliance Atlantis CEO Phyllis Yaffe said theAAC board supported the MPD board in its decision.
Bailey is a veteran of the distribution and exhibitionscene, with long tenures at Famous Players Cinemas and Paramount Pictures.