In a widely-rumoured move, theIrish Film Board has confirmed the appointment of Simon Perry as CEO, effectiveJanuary 9 of next year.

Perry, a former producer andhead of British Screen Finance between 1991 and 2000, is currently President ofAteliers du Cinema Europeen (ACE), the Paris based advanced professionaltraining initiative for European producers.

From February 2003 to March2004, he was director of co-productions at Ingenious Film & Television, the UK tax-based investmentcompany.

Perry has also acted asconsultant to a wide range of public and private agencies.

He has been a UK and Irish film selectioncorrespondent for the Competition and Un Certain Regard sections of the CannesFilm Festival. He has also been film financing consultant for Film i Väst, Sweden, and film productionconsultant for the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Macedonia.

Commenting on theappointment James Morris, IFB Chairman said "Simon Perry brings a depth ofknowledge and achievement in international film production that few can equal."

As the head of BritishScreen from 1991 to 2000, he helped numerous high profile European films makeit to the screen including Neil Jordan's TheCrying Game and Ken Loach's Spanish epic Land and Freedom. His experience coversevery critical stage of the film making process, from creative development toproduction, to finance and to distribution."

Simon Perry said, "Fora good many years I have watched the rise of Ireland as an enviably vigorousEuropean country, able to boast artistic and entrepreneurial talents in equalmeasure. So I am truly delighted at the prospect of being involved, and makinga contribution to the further growth of Irish cinema."

Reacting to the announcementDavid McLoughlin, ceo of Screen Producers Ireland said, "We aredelighted that the Board has appointed someone of this calibre and experience.It is a very important role in Ireland, indeed it could be arguedthat the position is that of figurehead for the entire Irish film industry andas such it is symbolic to a degree."

"His most urgent taskwill be to follow through with work already initiated by the Film Board toaddress Ireland's lack of competitivenessand loss of status as an international location, factors which badly affectedlevels of production this year."