Veteran cinema programmer Roy Gower is to take over as head of film at Everyman Cinemas.

The appointment was confirmed this week by Everyman Media Group CEO Crispin Lilly.

Gower, who takes up the position at the end of January, will replace Jody Pope, who is understood to be taking up an international distribution role at Universal.

Gower’s appointment reunites him with Lilly after the two execs’ long association at Cinewolrd, where both worked until last year.

“I’ve known him for 20 odd years. I’ve worked closely with him for the last six and he is second to none in the industry,” said Lilly of Gower.

Everyman brought its programming in house in late 2013, having previously outsourced its booking to rival chain Picturehouse.

Lilly paid tribute to Pope’s work in taking over the programming. “In the last year, Jody has done a tremendous job because is quite a big change moving from having a programme provided for you once a week to building all those relationships with distribution and putting in internal practices. She has done all that brilliantly.”

Gower’s appointment comes as Everyman continues to expand. Confirmed new Everyman openings are Birmingham (due to open in late Feb), Canary Wharf (set to open in the summer), Bristol (due to open by the end of the year) and Harrogate and Cirencester (both looking to open in 2016).

“There will be others,” added Lilly. “We’ve got a very ambitious opening programme now. We’ve got very strong supportive shareholders. We have the means to do it and the developers understand what Everyman brings to a cinema operation that is different to a multiplex operation.”

Lilly suggested that developers are increasingly welcoming “the smaller, more intimate, more targeted offering that Everyman brings”.

The aim is to open three to five sites each year from 2016 onwards.