Rupert Preston has quit as head of UK independent distributor Metrodome Distribution.

Preston, who released titles including Human Traffic, Shadow Of The Vampire, and Chopper while at Metrodome, confirmed that he will leave the company in late August after overseeing upcoming releases. Metrodome group chairman John Hall said that the publicly-quoted company is still committed to theatrical distribution, and both sides said the split was amicable.

"He felt it was time to move to the next stage, to work on bigger films," said Hall.

While the AIM-listed group's shares tumbled last year, Metrodome Distribution made a positive contribution. Metrodome blamed higher than expected costs at direct marketing division Home Entertainment.

"Rupert has been an important part of the growth of our business over the last four years," Hall added. "We will be sorry to see him leave but I have to recognise that perhaps we are now moving towards different goals." Hall added that Metrodome Distribution's new head and management will be promoted from within the existing team, combined with new appointments.

Metrodome formed its distribution arm five years ago after buying Preston's UK micro-distributor Starlight Film Company, which became the basis of the expanded theatrical operation. Recent pick-ups include Last Orders and Help! I'm A Fish, while the division is also handling the DVD re-release of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Preston commented: "The film distribution division has been consistently profitable, with quality product and marketing which I am sure will continue through the great team of people at the company following my departure."