The UK's Odeon Cinemas has appointed Tim Schoonmaker as itsnew chief executive, taking over from Richard Segal, who left the company lastAugust.

Schoonmaker joins Odeon from media group Emap Plc. where heworked in general management across a number of Emap's businesses and was chiefexecutive of Emap Performance and chairman of Emap Advertising.

Tim founded Emap Radio in 1991 and built the business intothe UK's most profitable radio group. He also developed the group's music andtelevision activities and spearheaded both the launch of Emap Performance andEmap Advertising.

According to press reports, last December Odeon hiredinvestment banks Morgan Stanley and Tricorn Partners to evaluate offers for thebusiness,

London's Financial Times and Reuters reported that Odeon,partly owned by German bank WestLB, had received several bid approaches,including one from Iranian property investor Robert Tchenguiz, who is already ashareholder of the firm.

London & Regional, a property group, is also said tohave expressed interest, while Vue, formerly the Warner Village chain ofcinemas, is also named as a possible bidder.

WestLB's Principal Finance Group, headed by American bankerRobin Saunders, engineered the £431m buyout of Odeon last March from privateequity firm Cinven. UK distributor Entertainment Group and Tchenguiz were bothinvolved in the deal, each contributing £65m of equity in Odeon.