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:
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:
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2ND UPDATE: Gee, if I were Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, I wouldn’t let him go. But Sony Pictures’ Josh Goldstine has less than three months left on his contract. This is the guy mostly responsible for Battle: LA‘s really fresh ad campaign, along with The Social Network‘s. The announcement will be made possibly as soon as this week, and Michael Moses will remain as co-President of Marketing. But it’s a real coup for Universal to snag someone this good from outside the studio to replace Eddie Egan in the top marketing job at Universal Pictures. Fogelson had been talking to Egan and Goldstine about the move for the past few months. (FYI, LA Times today posted Goldstine’s name first.) And, yes, veterans will recall that Goldstine was suspended briefly after the advertising department he supervised at Sony Pictures was responsible in 2001 for fabricating quotes by a nonexistent film critic who praised four of the studio’s movies in its advertisements.
UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. Universal has confirmed Egan’s move. Here’s the release, below Deadline’s original break of the story.
EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Universal marketing president Eddie Egan will be moving over to a top post at Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment. I hear he will transition slowly, straddling both jobs for a limited time. It’s the latest growth move for Illumination, the Universal-based family film company, which is 2-for-2 on movies with Despicable Me and Hop. Despicable Me, Meledandri’s first release through Universal, is also spawning a theme park attraction. Developing…
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, May 25, 2011 – After leading the domestic marketing of back-to-back breakaway hits for Universal Pictures in Fast Five and Bridesmaids, President of Marketing Eddie Egan has chosen to take on a new position as head of marketing for Illumination Entertainment. As Egan assumes the title and duties of Illumination’s President of Marketing, he will also continue to serve as a senior executive at his home studio as Executive Vice President for Universal Pictures, where he has spent 17 years and served for the last three and a half years as its domestic marketing chief. The announcement was made jointly today by Adam Fogelson, Chairman of Universal Pictures and Chris Meledandri, founder of Illumination.
In his newly created position at Illumination, Egan will oversee every aspect of marketing for the company’s slate, working closely with his new team at Illumination and his long-time colleagues at Universal. Illumination is planning to accelerate their output with Universal to two films a year starting in 2013.
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