UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. Universal has confirmed Egan’s move. Here’s the release, below Deadline’s original break of the story.
EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Universal marketing president Eddie Egan will be moving over to a top post at Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment. I hear he will transition slowly, straddling both jobs for a limited time. It’s the latest growth move for Illumination, the Universal-based family film company, which is 2-for-2 on movies with Despicable Me and Hop. Despicable Me, Meledandri’s first release through Universal, is also spawning a theme park attraction. Developing…
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, May 25, 2011 – After leading the domestic marketing of back-to-back breakaway hits for Universal Pictures in Fast Five and Bridesmaids, President of Marketing Eddie Egan has chosen to take on a new position as head of marketing for Illumination Entertainment. As Egan assumes the title and duties of Illumination’s President of Marketing, he will also continue to serve as a senior executive at his home studio as Executive Vice President for Universal Pictures, where he has spent 17 years and served for the last three and a half years as its domestic marketing chief. The announcement was made jointly today by Adam Fogelson, Chairman of Universal Pictures and Chris Meledandri, founder of Illumination.
In his newly created position at Illumination, Egan will oversee every aspect of marketing for the company’s slate, working closely with his new team at Illumination and his long-time colleagues at Universal. Illumination is planning to accelerate their output with Universal to two films a year starting in 2013. Egan will have oversight of every element of marketing campaigns for Illumination’s upcoming titles, including creative advertising, media, digital, publicity, promotions and research. At Illumination, Egan will report to Meledandri, with whom he has collaborated closely during their partnership working on Illumination’s first two hit projects.
Chris Meledandri stated, “I have gotten to know Eddie very well through the terrifying, exhilarating process of launching a new business, a new brand and our first two films. I found in him a gifted, patient and trusted collaborator whose insights and experience I have come to greatly depend upon. On a purely selfish level, I’m thrilled to have his talents focused even more exclusively on our Illumination titles and really look forward to having him as a senior strategic leader in our company as we grow toward even greater ambitions.”
Illumination roared into the marketplace with its first title, 2010’s blockbuster Despicable Me, which became the tenth highest-grossing animated film ever at the domestic box office and accumulated a worldwide box-office total of $543 million, immediately establishing Illumination as a major competitor in the animated feature-film industry. Despicable Me was followed this year by the Easter holiday hit Hop, which crossed $100 million domestically. Illumination is readying their next film, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, which will arrive at North American theaters in 3-D on March 2, 2012. Illumination is in advanced pre-production on the sequel to Despicable Me, which is expected to be one of the two titles from the company in 2013.
Egan will also retain a strong foothold at his long-time studio, Universal, in the role of Executive Vice President of Universal Pictures. The existing structure and staff of the marketing department will remain the same and a new president of marketing is expected to be announced shortly.
Over his 17 years at the studio, Egan has served in a number of both official and unofficial capacities and is the studio’s leading go-to resource for guidance in many areas not only of marketing but policy, history, positioning and imaging. Egan will serve as a senior executive advisor to the company and its Office of the Chairmen comprised of Fogelson, Co-Chairman Donna Langley and Rick Finkelstein, Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer. Egan will contribute to a number of new and ongoing key initiatives for the studio, including greenlighting, the ambitious cross-company strategic integrations throughout the properties of NBCUniversal, Universal Pictures’ upcoming Centennial celebration and media strategy, and he will continue to advise and counsel the theatrical and home entertainment marketing teams on the entirety of the studio’s slate.
“There simply isn’t anyone who cares more or is cared for more than Eddie in our organization,” said Fogelson. “He was first my colleague, then my professional partner as we led the marketing department together, and any of our successes as a studio in the years that he’s been here bear his indelible contributions. I am so happy that he is transitioning into a position – or actually two – that keep him very near. Eddie stuck through a difficult couple of years for us as a company, and he helped keep the marketing team motivated, cohesive and upbeat through that tough time. I can’t thank him enough for never wavering during that transitional period. Illumination is lucky to get him, and we are lucky to keep him.”
Egan offered, “I wasn’t going to not stick with this team through the turbulence of the last couple of years. These are people I’ve worked alongside for a long time, and we all locked arms and soldiered through a time whose only consistent reward was that we went through it with each other. But I feel like the studio is through that patch, and that gives me the chance to move to this new opportunity. The chance to work across all the disciplines of marketing on fewer titles just feels right to me now, and I believe in what we’re all creating at Illumination. The chance to work more closely with Chris and his team there and retain all of the relationships I have at Universal is, if a person can have one to himself, a win-win.”
Egan was named President of Marketing for Universal Pictures in October 2007 after serving as the department’s Co-President since May 2002. He joined Universal Pictures in 1994 as Senior Vice President and was named Executive Vice President, Marketing, in 1999. Earlier, he held several marketing posts at Sony Pictures Entertainment, including Senior Vice President, Marketing, for TriStar Pictures and in the same capacity for the combined Columbia Pictures/TriStar marketing departments. Before joining Sony in 1990, he held executive marketing positions at Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount Pictures.