Universal Pictures’ president of Physical Production Andrew Fenady is leaving the studio after more than 16 years and will be replaced by Jeff LaPlante, who has been EVP Physical Production since 2011. Fenady said in a memo to staff just sent that he will “explore other professional opportunities” after his tenure in what is always one of the more grueling gigs on a studio lot.

“Andrew is an incredibly hard working and talented production executive,” said Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley today. “He has been a fiercely loyal and passionate leader for our physical production team and we’ve been privileged to have him here at Universal for so many years. He will be sorely missed but I know he will be successful in anything he decides to pursue.”

Jeff LaPlanteLaPlante joined Universal as a senior finance exec in 2000, was promoted to VP Production Finance in 2000 and SVP Physical Production in 2007. He oversees aspects of physical production including budgeting, scheduling, hiring of crews and day-to-day operations and worked on films including the Fast & Furious franchise, the Despicable Me movies and Fifty Shades Of Grey among others. He now is working on the Snow White sequel The Huntsman, and the Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt pic By The Sea.

Here’s Fenady’s memo:

Dear Colleagues:

As many of you know, I’ve been with Universal for more than 16 years working in physical production. I’ve loved every minute of my time here from the greatest victories to the toughest challenges, and there has been no shortage of either. It’s been a great honor to lead the physical production team for the last seven years and to have touched so many terrific films and worked with so many great filmmakers, but I’ve decided it’s time to explore other professional opportunities.

Universal has been my home and you’ve been my family for almost two decades now, and honestly I can’t really imagine not coming to the Lot to work every day. I’ve given this company no less than 100% of my service, but it’s time for me to find something that affords me the ability to divide myself a bit more evenly.

One of the reasons I feel at ease with this decision is that I have a terrific team around me and I am leaving a bench of strong executives to lead physical production. With Donna and Jimmy’s support, I’ve asked Jeff LaPlante to assume my role as President of Physical Production. Jeff is an extremely capable leader and I could not be more pleased that he is willing to step into this role.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be working collaboratively with Jeff on the transition of my duties, so I’m sure I’ll get the chance to see all of you before I leave. I’m confident that our paths will continue to cross in the future in some capacity or another so goodbye for now, and thank you for this incredible experience.

Best,

Andrew