In a stunning development Adam Fogelson has left Universal Pictures as chairman and Jeff Shell has been named chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group.

Ron Meyer rises to the strategic overview post of NBCUniversal’s only vice-chairman through 2017 and Donna Langley is promoted to chairman of Universal Pictures and her purview covers Focus Features.

Shell and Meyer will continue to report to NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke and Langley will report to Shell.

For the past two years the latter oversaw operations of all NBCUniversal International businesses, including international TV distribution, global television networks and international television production.

Fogelson’s exit is a shock given that Universal has turned round its fortunes and is headed for a record year at the worldwide box office.

Despicable Me 2 and Fast And Furious 6 rank as the second and third biggest films of the year behind Iron Man 3.

Fogelson was named chairman in October 2009 after serving two years as president of marketing and distribution.

“We’d like to thank Adam for his very significant contribution to our film division over the past 15 years,” said Burke and Meyer in a statement. “He has been an important part of our company for a long time and has helped deliver consistent results during a particularly challenging time for the film business.”