EXCLUSIVE: John Cheng, most recently Head of Development at RatPac Entertainment, has moved to become President of Film at Kevin Hart’s HartBeat Productions. He also will also help spearhead the TV aspirations at HartBeat, which just inked a first-look production deal at Universal.

In addition to Cheng, HartBeat has brought aboard Carli Haney as Creative Executive for Film/TV. She was Cheng’s creative assistant at RatPac and before that worked at Jennifer Lopez’s JLE.

“John Cheng is one of the most talented and well respected executives in Hollywood and I’m thrilled that he’s joining the team,” Hart said. “With his extraordinary reputation for his creative instincts, impeccable taste and fantastic relationships, there is no limit on what we can accomplish at HartBeat.”

Said Cheng: “I couldn’t be more excited to partner up with Kevin and the HartBeat team. Aside from being a comedic genius, Kevin’s ambition, work ethic and creative instincts as a producer are unparalleled in this industry. Our objective is for HartBeat is to be a global brand name in generating commercial and critically acclaimed content in all genres from culturally diverse storytellers. We’ll be looking for projects for Kevin to star in, but also aim to be the first stop for top talent to bring their A-list projects to HartBeat to use our experience and resources to see their projects to fruition.”

In his five years at RatPac, Cheng oversaw the company’s full slate of film and TV shows in development and production, as well as the producer-financier’s financial relationship with Warner Bros and Plan B’s first-look deal with the New Regency-RatPac tie-up. Among the movies under his purview were Fox’s The Revenant, which earned Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar; Assassin’s Creed; and Sony Classics’ Truth starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett.

Cheng was a co-producer on Warners’ Horrible Bosses, producer on A24’s Barely Lethal and Saban Entertainment’s True Crimes, and and exec producer on Horrible Bosses 2 and Relativity’s Mirror Mirror. Most recently he was a producer on Christoph Waltz’s directorial debut Georgetown. He also set up the Black List script Blond Ambition at Uni with Mike De Luca Productions, Unfit at Amazon with Dakota Johnson attached, and The Fix at New Line with Seth Gordon directing and Robert Carlock writing.

Before RatPac, Cheng was Head of Development at Rat Entertainment, where he worked on the Rush Hour franchise for New Line, and Tower Heist and The Family Man at Universal. He got his start working as an assistant at Pearson All American Television, run by David Gerber.