Giampaolo Sodano, one of the Italian film industry's leading figures, has resigned from his position as president of Eagle Pictures, after helping the company more than double its revenue over the last three years.

"I simply decided it was time to move on. I had completed my task, so to speak. When I arrived at Eagle, the company had a revenue of Euros 36m. In 2002, we posted a revenue of Euros 74m," Sodano told

The veteran producer, who is currently also head of UNIDIM, Italy's association of film distributors, said he is now looking to "pursue new challenges."

He has been replaced by Luigi Sala, already president of Eagle partner B&S.

Sodano joined Eagle in 2000. Until then, the company had been mostly active on the home entertainment and TV production front - but Sodano's appointment coincided with a desire by Eagle founding brothers Ciro and Stefano Dammicco, for the company to become a leading player in the international film industry.

Shortly after Sodano's arrival, private equity financier B&S took a 20% stake in the company, enabling Eagle to have $300m at its disposal to invest in film and TV productions and acquisitions.

The company's international stature was further boosted by a major cash injection from leading financial group Interbanca, which acquired a 13.79% stake in the film outfit for a value of Euros 10.3m. The bank also awarded the company a Euros 50m medium-term fund to be invested in theatrical acquisitions and production.

Prior to his appointment at Eagle, Sodano was head of SACIS, the sales arm of public broadcaster RAI, and more recently managing director of private channel Canale 5.

Among the high-profile projects that Sodano developed at Eagle are The White Rose, a $15m movie from director Joel Schumacher based on the true story of a group of German students who opposed the Nazi regime during the Second World War; and Blackberry Wine, the epicurean follow-up to Joanne Harris's Chocolat, which tells the story of a frustrated writer whose every sip of wine propels him back 25 years to the 1970s.

Founded in 1986, Eagle currently has output and acquisition deals with several international companies, including Mutual Film Co, Miramax, Canwest Fireworks and Escape Artists.

Recent acquisitions for the Rome and Milan-based company include Steven Shainberg's sado-masochistic relationship drama Secretary, sold by Lions Gate, and Summit Entertainment's thriller Blackout starring Ashley Judd, Samuel L Jackson and Andy Garcia.