Milt Barlow, CEO and founding shareholder of LA-based distributor China Lion Entertainment, is to exit the company as CEO.

He will remain as the company’s second biggest shareholder after China Lion president Jiang Yanming, with whom he launched the company in early 2010.

In January 2012, Chinese studios Bona Film Group and Huayi Brothers both acquired stakes in the company.

Jiang will assume senior management of China Lion supported by senior vice president Robert Lundberg, who will run day-to-day operations. The company is chaired by Greg Coote.

Starting with his New Zealand-based company Incubate in 2008, Barlow pioneered day-and-date theatrical releases of Chinese movies across markets with Chinese-speaking populations including Australia, New Zealand, North America and the UK.

China Lion started its North American operations in January 2011 and has since released titles such as Aftershock, What Women Want, Love In The Buff, The Bullet Vanishes and A Simple Life. It most recently released Feng Xiaogang’s Back To 1942.

The company also worked with Fox International Pictures on the North American release of its Chinese titles Butcher Chef & Swordsman and Love In Space.

During his tenure, Barlow negotiated a two-year exclusive deal with AMC Theatres, ancillary deals with New Video and WellGo and the recently-announced China Lion channel on Hulu.