Veteran distribution executive Richard Sheffield is to return to Australia's Becker Entertainment to take charge of its mainstream distribution operation, until recently called REP, replacing Mark Gooder who has resigned to move to another as-yet-unnamed distributor.

Sheffield only accepted the job on the understanding that he will also be able to pursue his own interests, which include several deals with US producers, various New Zealand connections and the development of his own features, including one with writer-director Bill Bennett.

Sheffield was one of the founders of REP Films, which was renamed last month with the Becker corporate brand, in 1987. He left eight years later to head up the Australian arm of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE) when that company decided to handle its own product rather then channel it through REP. He stayed at the helm until Universal Pictures International, which grew out of PFE, was disbanded last year.

Troy Lum, head of Becker's arthouse distribution arm Dendy Films, will not answer to Sheffield as he did to Gooder. Rather, they will work side-by-side. Both Sheffield and Gooder will be at AFM in their new roles.