Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Eddie Egan, who in May 2011 moved from his post as domestic marketing president to take a senior post at Chris Meledandri’s Universal-based Illumination Entertainment, is leaving the studio where he has worked for nearly the past two decades. I’m told it was a mutual decision to move on. Egan made the move after overseeing the marketing of such Universal hits as Fast Five and Bridesmaids; after moving over, the Illumination films he worked on included Despicable Me 2, which is the bridesmaid behind Jurassic Park in the title of the studio’s biggest-grossing film ever with a worldwide tally of more than $916 million. Egan also worked closely on such Illumination product as Despicable Me and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. Ron Meyer just sent out an internal note confirming the exit. While it usually takes awhile to get the full story of what happened when any exec departs, you don’t usually get this kind of send off if you aren’t well liked and respected. Here’s Meyer’s note:

Dear Coworkers:

After 19 years together, I am saddened to share that Eddie Egan is leaving Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment. Eddie has been an instrumental part of our success for almost two decades and he is one of the most uniformly respected and admired executives in our company. His passion and dedication have played a critical role in building Universal’s marketing organization, which is one of the best in the business. He’s also been a huge leader in the effort to grow and expand our family entertainment brand, Illumination Entertainment.

Eddie’s credits with Universal are almost too lengthy to list, but one of his biggest and most recent contributions has been in establishing Despicable Me as a global tent pole franchise with Despicable Me 2 currently boasting worldwide grosses of more than $916 million. He has helped make Illumination Entertainment an animation powerhouse with the success of Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2 and the smash hit, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.

Below is a note from Chris Meledandri about Eddie and another from Eddie to all of you:

“Eddie believed in Illumination and Despicable Me long before audiences around the world fell in love with Gru and the Minions,” said Meledandri. “Eddie has always been a pleasure to work with and, through his strategic vision and marketing acumen, he helped build Despicable Me into a powerhouse franchise.”

“I’ve always considered myself someone who leads with caring, and I’m thankful that has resulted in a long history with both Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment that is filled with friendships and good memories,” said Egan. “Most recently, I’m proud to have been a part of Illumination since its beginnings, and I leave with a real sense of accomplishment with where the company is, and a certainty of the exciting ways it will grow in the future. Today I look both to mentors, who gave me chances, support and encouragement, as well as to those for whom I hope I’ve extended the same opportunities, and it’s difficult to feel anything but complete and grateful.”

Please join me in wishing Eddie the best of luck and success in all of his future endeavors. He is and will always be a member of our Universal family.