Xavier Marchand has emerged as the frontrunner to replace David Kosse as head of UK distributor Momentum Pictures.

Marchand is still active at his production company Haystack Productions, but is tipped to take over from Kosse, who is taking up the post of president of international marketing and distribution at Universal Pictures, based in London.

Marchand's CV includes studio experience as president of distribution and sales at Universal Pictures International (UPI), the same company where Kosse worked before joining Momentum. He was two years at Warner Brothers as senior vice president of European distribution and also senior vice president of international distribution at Polygram Film International. In the independent sector, he was managing director of UK sales outfit Portman Entertainment.

At Haystack, the independent production company he co-founded after UPI, Marchand's projects saw him partner with sales operation Odyssey Entertainment on the upcoming The Blue Afternoon. The period story marks Australian-born director Bruce Beresford's first production in Asia and Australia since Paradise Road.

Marchand had no comment; nor did Momentum, other than to say that no deal was done.