Universal Pictures president of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco is stepping down from the post at the end of the year after 47 years at the studio, it was announced this morning. She was the first woman to be named the head of a major studio’s theatrical distribution operations when she took the job in 1996 and is one of Universal’s longest-serving employees, having joined up at age 17 and surviving seemingly countless regime changes. This move had been in the wind and as late as a month ago she denied to Deadline she was going anywhere. >Now Rocco — who counted Lew Wasserman among her most coveted industry relationships — will become a consultant. Her No. 2, co-president of distribution Nicholas Carpou, likely will take over the role though the studio did not say so in its release this morning.
In 2013, Universal had its best year ever at the domestic box office, with total grosses of $1.42 billion. It also crossed the $1 billion marker faster than any other time in its history. (more…)