MarkWoods has resigned as chief executive of the Irish Film Board after 18 monthsin the job.

Woodsis moving back to Sydney, Australia, to head a significantly smallerorganisation, the national locations office Ausfilm.

Woods lived in Sydney for 12 years before returning toIreland, where he was born, to join the Irish Film Board in October 2003. InAustralia he worked as head of acquisitions and investment at the Premium MoviePartnership, parent company of Australia's Showtime channels. Prior to that hewas a film trade journalist.

Ausfilm has four staff in Sydney and three in Los Angelesand has a brief to market Australia as a place to make film and television.Existing chief executive Trisha Rothkrans notified the Ausfilm board inDecember that she was not interested in renewing her contract but will stay onuntil August, when Woods is available to take up his two-yearcontract. Eight of the 21 applicants made the shortlist.

IFB Chairman James Morris said: "On behalf of the Board, I would like to acknowledge the very important contribution Mark Woods has made to the ongoing development of the Irish Film Board and to the wider community of the Irish film industry."

Irish producers contacted by wished Woods well on his return to Australia and, in the main, see his departure as an opportunity for the IFB's recently appointed Board members (, Jan 16) to take stock of the current needs of the Irish film sector.

Producers also said that the Board members will have to deal with some difficult political and human resources issues, inherited by Woods, to do with the running of a small state agency currently split between two locations on opposite sides of the country.

Woods commented: "Working at the Irish Film Board has been an unforgettable experience. I thank former Chairman Ossie Kilkenny and the present Chairman James Morris for their support for the agency and I would especially like to salute Arts, Sport and Tourism Minister John O'Donoghue for his faith in the Irish film industry."

Ausfilm chair Ian Robertson said Woods had increased fundingand had introduced new programmes at the Irish Film Board, and also had goodknowledge of the international scene and of Australia.

"He was keen to return to Australia and as an Australian Ican understand that," said Robertson.

Robertson said Ausfilm had gone through "enormousdevelopment" during Rothkrans' five year tenure, changing from a loungeroom-based office to a serious organisation.