Yan has been named managing director and executive vice-president for China at Universal Pictures International (UPI). 

The new hire will oversee construction of an office in China and supervise the film group’s theatrical and digital distribution as well as its local Chinese-language production efforts.  

Yan will also help establish and implement strategic goals for Universal Pictures, NBCUniversal and Comcast in the region. 

“China is one of our most significant international territories and it is imperative that Universal has a strong, well respected leader as we expand our presence in this region,” said UPI president of distribution Duncan Clark.

“Jo is the perfect choice to build and lead our Chinese office, and we are delighted that he has decided to join our leadership team.”

In conjunction with the studio’s consumer products group, Yan will also oversee the development of Universal’s brands and licensing business in China,

He will assist Illumination Entertainment with its effort to grow in the Chinese marketplace by serving as a creative advisor, sourcing local intellectual property and identifying companies who could provide animation services.

Prior to joining Universal, Yan spent 20 years at The Walt Disney Company. Since April 2010 he held the title of svp of studio distribution for Greater China, where he oversaw Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, covering theatrical and expanding into all formats available for in-home consumption of the studio’s rich and diverse slate. 

Before that, Yan served as svp of sales, acquisitions and co-productions for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Asia-Pacific in 2006. He joined the company in 1994 as Buena Vista International’s head of sales in the Asia-Pacific market.

Yan began his film industry career in 1990 at the the Asia regional office of Orion Pictures International before he was hired two years later by Hong Kong distributor Intercontinental Distributors.

  • Ross Pollack has been appointed evp and chief human resources officer at Lionsgate. As CEO of Celestial Pictures Limited, Pollack helped turn around that Hong Kong company’s fortunes and played a key role in Celestial’s channels merger with Lionsgate, Saban Capital and Tigergate to form Celestial Tiger Entertainment in 2011.