In a further shift inside its overseas operation, Universal Pictures International has promoted Niels Swinkels to EVP of distribution. The exec is currently London-based, but will relocate to Los Angeles to work more closely with the studio’s leadership team. The appointment follows a series of changes at UPI. In April, a restructure was intended to see a then-unnamed head of international theatrical operations located in Los Angeles. That resulted in the ultimate departure of David Kosse, who was President, International, Universal Pictures, and opted to stay in London. He left in October to become head of the UK’s Film4. In September, Universal upped EVP Worldwide Acquisitions Peter Kujawski to the newly-created position of Director of Universal Pictures International Productions working out of Los Angeles. A week later, Duncan Clark, who had been President of Distribution for Universal Pictures International since June 2011, was given an expanded role to lead the international team from London.
Clark made the announcement today regarding Swinkels. “I have worked very closely with Niels for eight years now, and I know him to be an extremely creative, enthusiastic and dedicated executive,” said Clark. “He has been a valued member of the UPI leadership team since our inception in 2007 when he served as head of sales and distribution for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has been the Managing Director of the UK Operating Company for the past four years and has done an excellent job.”
In his new role, Swinkels will supervise Universal Pictures’ operating companies and UIP Joint Ventures. He starts the job on December 1.
Swinkels began his tenure with Universal in 2004 as a Marketing Director. He was then appointed to Vice President of Sales & Distribution for the EMEA region in 2006 before being promoted to Senior Vice President of the same region in 2009. He has spent the last four years as Managing Director of the UK and Ireland.