Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley’s leadership of Fox Searchlight has been formalised with their promotion to presidents following the departure last March of Peter Rice.

Gilula and Utley, who served as COOs since 2006, have signed new multi-year deals and report directly to Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos.

The highly regarded pair will manage all aspects of the company including production, acquisitions, marketing and distribution along with president of production Claudia Lewis.

Their track record is impressive, having presided over the marketing and distribution of 77 films that have collectively earned more than $1.3bn in North America and garnered 46 Academy Awards nominations and 15 wins.

Slumdog Millionaire’s eight-Oscar haul last February offered the latest vindication of the company’s ability to pick winners following recent best picture nominations and screenplay wins for Juno, Little Miss Sunshine and Sideways.

In a statement Rothman and Gianopulos praised “two of the most talented executives in the film industry… their outstanding relationships with film-makers, and their continued passion for quality.”

“I am delighted to continue to have the privilege to work with an extremely talented and enthusiastic staff, supportive management, and supremely gifted film-makers in one of the best jobs in our business or any other,” Utley said. Gilula added, “I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished at Searchlight and look forward to continuing the tradition.”

In her previous roles as Twentieth Century Fox’s executive vice-president of marketing, vice-president of media, senior vice-president of media and research, and executive vice-president of marketing, media and research, Utley worked on such hits as Independence Day, There’s Something About Mary, The Star Wars trilogy special edition, and The Die Hard series. Prior to Fox she was senior vice-president of new business at BBDO.

Before joining Searchlight, Gilula was president and CEO of Landmark Theatres, which he co-founded in 1974. He spent five years on the board of directors and executive committee of the National Association Of Theatre Owners (NATO) and served as chairman of NATO California/Nevada for six years.  Gilula began his career as a film booker/buyer at United Artists Theatre Circuit in San Francisco.

Upcoming Searchlight releases include the Sundance premieres 500 Days Of Summer and Adam, as well as Mira Nair’s Amelia starring Hilary Swank as the legendary US pilot Amelia Earhart alongside Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor.