Duncan Clark, Universal’s president of international distribution, will step down from his role this August, Donna Langley said in a letter to staff on Tuesday.
Clark is a 41-year veteran of the industry and has been with Universal for the last 14 years. He will transition to a consulting role, and he will be replaced by Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, who most recently was at Warner Bros and had oversight over the studio’s international theatrical distribution.
Kwan Vandenberg and Clark will work closely with Niels Swinkels, EVP, international distribution, and Simon Hewlett, president, international marketing, over the next couple of months to manage the transition process.
“Duncan has been instrumental in Universal’s success at the global box office, and under his leadership the studio has experienced some of the most profitable years in our history,” Langley said in her memo to employees. “We are so grateful for Duncan’s years of leadership. While he’ll still be working with us for some time, please find time to thank him for his years of dedication to the growth of our Company.”
Clark was at the helm in 2015 when Universal Pictures International became the first studio to gross more than $4 billion internationally, shepherding franchises such as “Jurassic World,” “Fast & Furious,” “Despicable Me” and the movies of Blumhouse.
Clark was also responsible for Universal’s China office and recruiting its current leadership team. He most recently brought the James Bond franchise to Universal, with the studio set to distribute internationally the 25th 007 movie “No Time to Die.”
Kwan Vandenberg most recently had oversight of Warner Bros. international theatrical distribution activities, including local productions and a special focus on theatrical strategy and partnerships in China, managing WB franchises such as the Harry Potter movies, “The Dark Knight” trilogy,” “The Hobbit” trilogy” and “The Matrix” trilogy. She also collaborated on aligning business and technology and supporting new in-theater experiences.
Kwan Vandenberg will be based in Los Angeles and report to Langley. She will oversee teams in Los Angeles, London and international territories that will continue to be led by Swinkels. She will also work closely with Peter Levinsohn, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s vice chairman and chief distribution officer, and Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, as well as Michael Moses, Universal’s president of worldwide marketing.
Read Langley’s full note below:
I want to share with you some news about upcoming changes to our international leadership. After 14 years with the Company, and more than five years as President of International Distribution, Duncan Clark will be stepping down from his position in August and transitioning into a consulting role. We’re excited to welcome industry veteran Veronika Kwan Vandenberg as our new President of International Distribution, who will be joining us in the coming weeks to lead Universal Pictures International (UPI). Veronika and Duncan will work closely with Niels Swinkels, EVP, International Distribution, and Simon Hewlett, President, International Marketing, over the next couple of months to manage the transition process.
Duncan has been instrumental in Universal’s success at the global box office, and under his leadership the studio has experienced some of the most profitable years in our history. In 2015, UPI achieved its best year ever by breaking numerous records at the international box office, becoming the first studio to gross more than $4 billion internationally. Duncan managed the international success and growth of the studio’s most notable brands and franchises including Jurassic World, Fast & Furious, Despicable Me/Minions, and films from Blumhouse. He helped build Illumination’s international profile as a premier animation brand around the world, with extraordinary growth in Japan, China and Latin America. Duncan was responsible for building Universal’s China office and recruiting its leadership team, which has led to sustained success in the Chinese market. Most recently, Duncan was instrumental in bringing the James Bond 007 franchise to Universal, and the studio will release the next film in the iconic series, ‘No Time to Die,’ internationally. Duncan is respected across the industry by those who have had the privilege to work with him, be it colleagues, filmmakers or our partners in exhibition.
Veronika is a highly respected distribution executive who joins us with a strong track-record of success in distribution innovation, a strong fluency of the international marketplace, as well as deep relationships with filmmakers and exhibition. In her most recent role, she had oversight of Warner Bros. international theatrical distribution activities, including local productions and a special focus on theatrical strategy and partnerships in China. She also collaborated on the global alignment of business and technology initiatives, in addition to building partnerships to support new in-theater experiences. Veronika was involved in managing many of Warner Bros. iconic film series including the eight Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, and The Matrix trilogy, among others.
Veronika will be based in Los Angeles and report to me. She will oversee a highly experienced distribution organization across Los Angeles, London and international territories which will continue to be led by Niels. She will also work closely with Peter Levinsohn, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s Vice Chairman and Chief Distribution Officer, and Jim Orr, Universal’s President of Domestic Distribution, as well as Michael Moses, Universal’s President of Worldwide Marketing.
We know that change is hard, especially at a time like this, and we are committed to sharing information and updates with you regularly.
We are so grateful for Duncan’s years of leadership. While he’ll still be working with us for some time, please find time to thank him for his years of dedication to the growth of our Company. Please also join me in welcoming Veronika when she joins in the coming weeks.