The UK’s Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) has confirmed that Andy Leyshon will be its new chief executive, taking over from the long-serving Mark Batey.
Until recently Leyshon was managing director UK & Ireland of STX International. He has also recently been serving as a distribution consultant for Gower Street Analytics, working with clients across the film industry.
Before STX, Leyshon spent ten years as sales director of Universal Pictures UK & Eire. He also served as sales director of Momentum Pictures.
Leyshon starts in the job on September 6, less than two months before the Halloween Brexit deadline on October 31. A ’hard Brexit’ on that date is bound to provide challenges to the UK distribution sector.
FDA President David Puttnam said: “This is an enormously important appointment for FDA. As Andy knows better than most, film is an influential, dynamic part of the UK’s growing creative economy, yet it comes at a time when the business is facing unprecedented challenges as consumption patterns ever more rapidly evolve.”
Leyshon commented: “I’m very excited to be joining FDA at what is a busy time on so many strategic and policy fronts. Distribution is the beating heart of the UK film industry and FDA is a vital, potent voice in shaping the sector’s successful future path. We have a wonderfully diverse membership and it will be an honour to work with and represent them over the coming years.”
Outgoing CEO Mark Batey, who has held the post for two decades, and will be stepping down at the end of August, added: “I could not be happier to be handing over the reins of FDA to Andy Leyshon. He is one of the UK’s most experienced and passionate film distribution professionals and will prove a terrific asset.”
FDA members generate 98% of UK cinema-going through the annual release of nearly 1,000 film titles in the UK, Ireland and Malta. It works closely with the sector on issues including training and development, content protection, media services, audience development and policy and representation.