EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert resigned from all his duties on Wednesday and the company’s board has named former Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger as his replacement on an interim basis, an individual familiar with the move told TheWrap.
Lambert has decided to focus on producing his own projects after securing funding for EuropaCorp founder Luc Besson‘s upcoming blockbuster “Valérian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” the company said in a statement to international media.
Shmuger is a well-respected executive who most recently ran his own production company, Global Produce, which will remain active and is currently developing a remake of “Scarface” at Universal.
When Lambert was originally hired, EuropaCorp was a much smaller company. While it showed tremendous growth under his watch, that necessitated the hiring of a CEO with experience running a large company. Shmuger fits that bill and worked for the French when Universal was owned by Vivendi, so the EuropaCorp board saw him as a very appealing candidate.
Shmuger also has a long history with Besson, having worked as a marketing executive at Sony when the studio released the director’s films “The Professional” and “The Fifth Element.” He also served as an executive producer on Besson’s sleeper hit “Lucy.”
Besson thanked Lambert for his work in helping to give EuropaCorp legitimacy among other Hollywood studios, saying he “knew how to help the company take its international shift.” Besson is said to be supportive of Lambert’s ambitions to produce.
Shmuger’s Global Produce has an Alex Gibney documentary titled “Zero Days” that will play in competition at the Berlin Film Festival. Shmuger also produced “The Spectacular Now” and the Wikileaks documentary “We Steal Secrets.” The company is also developing several TV projects.