Universal Pictures has confirmed the appointment of former Fox production executive vice-president Debbie Liebling as president of production.

As reported here last week, Liebling was widely tipped to replace Donna Langley after the British executive was promoted to studio co-chairman alongside Adam Fogelson as chairman and vice-chairman Rick Finkelstein.

Liebling starts in January, reporting to Langley. Her production team features executive vice-presidents Peter Cramer and Tracy Falco, and senior vice-presidents Jeff Kirschenbaum and Scott Bernstein.

Universal’s 2010 slate includes Paul Greengrass’ The Green Zone with Matt Damon, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood adventure starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, the third entry in the Meet The Fockers franchise starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro, and the Saturday Night Live spin-off MacGruber with Will Forte and Kristen Wiig.

Liebling, a particularly strong force in comedy, shepherded the creative direction of Borat and Dodgeball at Fox and previously served as president of production at the now defunct Fox Atomic. As chief programming executive for Comedy Central she developed and supervised South Park.

“Debbie’s fresh perspective and years of experience in the industry perfectly complement our seasoned production team,” Langley said. “Her keen instincts and close relationships with film-makers and talent make her the right person to help us shape future Universal film slates.”

“This is both an exciting and challenging time in Universal’s storied film history, and I’m looking forward to working with Donna and her team to shape the next chapter,” Liebling said