EXCLUSIVE: One day after studio chief Tom Rothman unveiled a bold slate designed to revive and create new franchises over the next two years, he today realigned his production staff. He and Motion Picture Group president Doug Belgrad have eliminated the president of production post at Columbia Pictures and brought in Palak Patel, an ace exec for producer Joe Roth. Rothman’s key TriStar exec, David Beaubaire, has become an exec veep at Columbia Pictures (Patel will hold that title as well), and Hannah Minghella has moved over to become president of of TriStar Pictures, where she will work closely with Nicole Brown and report to Belgrad. They, along with current Columbia executives Andrea Giannetti and Jonathan Kadin, will report to Belgrad.

hannah minghella

palak patelThis completes a restructure that has been expected since Michael De Luca (who shared the production president post with Minghella) took a producing deal at Universal, where he is working on the sequel Fifty Shades Darker and numerous other projects. What is unusual in these internal power struggles and internal realignments is, nobody lost their job.

In moving Minghella to TriStar, she takes with her The Rosie Project, which Minghella has shepherded and has Jennifer Lawrence attached to star, and it is likely to be directed by Richard Linklater. Beaubaire will see through the TriStar films hatched by Rothman before he was elevated. They include the Robert Zemeckis-directed The Walk, the Jodie Foster-directed Money Monster with George Clooney and Julia Roberts, and the Ang Lee-directed Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.

Some might see this move as not a positive for Minghella, but she is a classy executive well-suited for prestige fare, and she hangs on to her president title.

Said Rothman: “Doug and I believe that studios often have too many layers of development executives to be fast and effective, and that’s surely what we need to be. We want seasoned, empowered execs who can make decisions and have direct responsibility to get films made. I know firsthand that David can do that, and that’s why we drafted him over to Columbia, which needs to be making big films. Palak is a driven self-starter who has made great films happen with Joe, and there is no better mentor. Finally, I’m obviously a believer in TriStar’s mandate to make quality commercial films for adults, and Hannah’s impeccable taste and strong talent connections are exactly what the label needs to lead that charge. She will do much better than me there.”

Belgrad added, “I’m looking forward to working much more closely with David and Palak as they join Ange on the Columbia team. Ange is beloved and has been the consummate executive for more than 20 years at Sony. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know David since he joined TriStar as Tom’s top lieutenant, and I’ve seen firsthand his strong eye for material and deep understanding of the filmmaking process. Palak has been aggressive and hugely successful in finding material and launching global franchises. All three have incredible story sense and great industry relationships, so it’s exciting to be working with them as we lead the studio into its next chapter. In addition, after working side-by-side with Hannah, I know she is an extremely talented executive, and to have her run TriStar is a coup for the studio.”