No surprise here: Universal Pictures has found its replacement for the retiring Nikki Rocco: As expected, 32-year company man Nicholas Carpou has been promoted to president of Domestic Distribution. The exec, who as co-president has been overseeing the company’s theatrical sales in North America since 2011, will step into the new gig January 1. Rocco, a 47-year studio veteran of the studio who announced her retirement in April after 18 years in the top Style: "ipro_men-color"post, will segue to a senior advisory role at year’s end and remain with Universal through 2016.

“Nick’s loyal service to our distribution team for more than three decades is a testament to his expertise in the field and the relationships he has forged,” said Jeff Shell, Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, who made the announcement today. “He was trained by the best in the business under Nikki, and he is a natural choice to lead our domestic distribution division when Nikki retires.”

“We were friends first. I’ve worked with Nikki in one capacity or another for 24 years,” said Carpou. “It’s bittersweet for me because we are so close. There’s a great tradition at Universal distribution, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to carry that on.”

Carpou began his career in San Francisco with United Artists Corporation in 1977. He worked for Associated Film Distribution from 1980-81, 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 Branch Manager in 1989. In 1990, Carpou became VP-Division Manager, then SVP National Sales in 1993.  In 1997, he was named EVP-General Sales Manager at the studio.

Universal had its best year ever at the domestic box office in 2013, with total grosses of $1.42 billion. It also crossed the $1 billion marker faster than any other time in its history.