After about 20 years with Cinemark, President and COO Robert Copple is leaving “to pursue personal interests,” the nation’s No. 3 exhibition chain says today. His responsibilities will be taken over by CEO Mark Zoradi, the former DreamWorks Animation and Disney exec who took charge of the company in August, as well as “the tenured senior management team.”

“I feel the time has come for me to seek other opportunities and am also looking forward to spending more time with my family,” says Copple. He was CFO until January 2014 when he was promoted, and seemed to be heir apparent to replace CEO Tim Warner who stepped down last year..

During his tenure Copple helped to drive Cinemark’s 2007 IPO, its acquisitions of Century and Rave, the buyout of private investment firm Madison Dearborn’s interest, as well as the formation of National CineMedia, the Digital Cinema Implementation Partners studio-exhibition partnership that helped to finance the transition to digital projection, and alternative content provider Fathom Events.

Company founder Lee Roy Mitchell calls Copple “an integral part of the Cinemark family and a key contributor to our strategic initiatives and growth over the past two decades.”

Copple’s compensation package in 2014 came to $2.36 million, according to the chain’s most recent proxy.  His current contract was due to expire in April.