EXCLUSIVE: In a restructuring at the top, Focus Features Marketing President Jason Cassidy has been elevated to Vice Chairman. The promotion was just announced internally by Peter Kujawski. Kujawski will continue as chairman and Robert Walak remains president of Focus, overseeing the studio’s production and acquisitions. Cassidy continues to oversee marketing for the Universal-based specialty film label and now will have a greater hand in strategic planning and setting long term initiatives.
The company just marketed and released Downton Abbey and Harriet, the Kasi Lemmons-directed drama that stars Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman. Cassidy was named marketing chief at Focus in late 2016. Before that he was Marketing President at Open Road and worked on such films as Spotlight, and prior to that Miramax, where No Country For Old Men was among the films he launched. Here is the internal announcement just sent out:
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I am excited to share with you an organizational change to our Leadership Team. Jason Cassidy has been promoted to Vice Chairman of Focus Features. In this role, Jason will continue to oversee all of Marketing and will now also work more closely on strategic planning, long-term initiatives and the film releasing side of the business. Jason has been instrumental in our push into new media platforms that have strengthened our campaigns immeasurably, and as we continue to grow the Focus Features brand and our loyalty programs, his leadership and vision will be a key asset for our entire team moving forward. In addition, he will continue to collaborate with Robert and me on our greenlight process and delivering on a strategic slate that brings diverse, distinctive stories and filmmakers to a global audience.
Since joining Focus in 2016, Jason has a proven track record of successfully leading our Marketing team to tremendous results and has been a key architect in building our best-in-class organization. With all our hard work — and the great support from Donna and everybody at Universal — we have been the #1 specialty distributor for three years running, and this year has been a record-breaking year for us with the phenomenal back-to-back hits of Downton Abbey and Harriet. In the past two years we’ve garnered 18 Golden Globe and 26 Oscar nominations, including three Best Picture nominations. We’ve also been recognized as The Hollywood Reporter’s Distributor of The Year and one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies. I’m excited to see where we can all take it next.
Jason’s newly expanded role is a credit to all of you whose ideas, hard work and commitment have driven the organization forward in such exciting and innovative new ways. He is a key member of our leadership team, and I am proud to work with him, and with all of you, as we continue to strengthen and grow Focus as the premier specialty studio.
Please join me in congratulating Jason on this well-deserved promotion.
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