EXCLUSIVE: Universal’s legendary President of Distribution Nikki Rocco is promoting Nicholas Carpou from EVP/General Sales Manager in Distribution to Co-President of Distribution. “For recognition of his 25 years here and 34 years in the biz,” an insider tells me. “He’s a tremendous right hand to Nikki. It’s time.” Rocco, of course, has been President of Distribution at the studio since 1996 and remains the only top female in the male-dominated field (when she was appointed, all the guys said a woman wouldn’t last six months in the job). She’s been in the business for 44 years. You gotta love it. … UPDATE: Universal has issued a press release announcing the promotion:

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA (May 31, 2011) — Universal Pictures’ President of Distribution Nikki Rocco today announced that as of June 1, Nicholas Carpou will become Co-President of Distribution for the film studio.

Carpou, who currently serves as Executive Vice President of Distribution, has been with Universal for 29 years. In his new role, Carpou will become more involved in the day-to-day management and operations of the studio’s distribution division and at this time will remain responsible for oversight of Canada, the Eastern United States and Puerto Rico. He will continue to report to Rocco and work closely with Executive Vice President, General Sales Manager of Distribution, Mark Gaines and Universal’s sales team.

“For many years, Nick has been a tremendous asset to our operation, shepherding some of the best and most profitable Universal films through theaters all over the country,” said Rocco. “This is a well-deserved promotion that recognizes his enormous achievements on behalf of our company.”

Carpou is a 34-year veteran of film distribution who began his career in San Francisco with United Artists Corporation in 1977. He worked for Associated Film Distribution from 1980 to 1981, and then joined Universal’s San Francisco branch office in 1982, where he was responsible for sales and booking assignments in various territories. In 1987, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he was promoted to Los Angeles Branch Manager in 1989. He worked his way up to Vice President, Division Manager in 1990, then Senior Vice President of National Sales in 1993. In 1997, he was named Executive Vice President at the studio.