Miramax chief operating officer Rick Sands has joined DreamWorksSKG as president and chief operatingofficer.

Sands' long anticipated departure comes as Miramax grapples withrecent layoffs and an ongoing contract dispute between parent company Disney andMiramax co-chief executives Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein.

Sands will be primarily responsible for day-to-day management ofDreamWorks SKG, reporting directly to principal partner David Geffen.

Sands joined Miramax in 1990as executive vice president and chief financial officer and was instrumental inthe negotiations that brought Miramax into Disney.

Leaving Miramax in 1993, heworked for two years at RHI Entertainment before returning to Miramax in 1995as president of international. In 1997, Sands was promoted to chairman ofworldwide distribution and then, four years later, he was named the company'sCOO.