Rick Sands has stepped down as COO of MGM in the wake of Mary Parent's recent appointment as head of the worldwide motion picture group as the studio's move back into production.

Sands served as COO since January 2006 and official word from MGM said he was leaving 'to pursue other opportunities in entertainment and content'.

During his tenure he revitalised the marketing and distribution pipelines, set up a home entertainment structure in conjunction with Twentieth Century Fox, and developed the worldwide television sales and digital media divisions.

'We appreciate Rick's contributions in helping to revitalise MGM over these past two years,' chairman and CEO Harry Sloan said. 'He has helped us to meet the formidable challenge of rebuilding MGM's operations and securely positioned the studio with a strong foundation for continued growth and renewal. We wish Rick continued success in all of his future endeavours.'

Prior to joining MGM Sands served as president and COO of DreamWorks and as COO of Miramax Films. He also served as executive vice president and CFO for Hallmark Entertainment and began his career in 1978 as as vice president of distribution at Columbia Pictures.