Media financier Ingenious Investments CEO James Clayton has left the company to join Simon Fuller’s management and production company XIX Entertainment as president. During him time with Ingenious, Clayton had been instrumental in overseeing the financier’s equity relationship with Fox Searchlight as well as Pathe through its raising of an Enterprise Investment Scheme for the Paris-heaquartered film company.
Also leaving Ingenious in recent weeks are former managing director of the media division Nik Bower and investment director Michael Shyjka, who oversaw the Senior Film Fund. Bower has moved on to Riverstone Pictures, with Reliance Entertainment’s Deepak Nayar, which will produce up to 10 feature films per year.
News of the exec departures was first reported by Screen International .
Ingenious is also currently locked in a bitter court case in the UK with tax authorities HMRC over hundreds of millions of pounds allegedly owed in unpaid tax. Ingenious’ tax-based funds, which allowed celebrities such as David Beckham to write off early losses against their tax bills, has been accused by authorities of being little more than a tax avoidance scheme.
Ingenious denies those charges, pointing to the numerous successful films financed through their funds, including most recently Mike Leigh’s well-received Mr Turner.
The tax tribunal began November 3 and is expected to last a number of weeks, with either side likely to appeal any verdict.
“The film partnerships run by Ingenious Media have already generated over £1 billion ($1.69 billion) in taxable income for the UK Treasury, with more to come over the lifetime of the films they funded,” Ingenious said in a statement earlier this year. “They helped to bring movies including Avatar, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Girl With A Pearl Earring, Vera Drake, Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and Hotel Rwanda to the screen and are clearly run for profit.”
In a statement provided to Deadline, an Ingenious rep also added, “None of our recent departures have anything to do with the hearing whatsoever. The timing of their departure is pure coincidence. These departures in no way diminishes our involvement in film. Our directors collectively have over 50 years of experience in film and the media sector. We have the single largest independent team of dedicated film professionals in the UK. We are developing some exciting new ideas to further increase our funding and production of film. We are already the largest independent producer of film in the UK. We are looking to hire further top talent to boost our industry leading team.”
Ingenious execs also confirm that they are seeking at least two senior executives to work in the film division.