Universal Worldwide Home Entertainment president Louis Feola is exiting after 26 years with the studio, reports DAILY VARIETY.
Feola has headed UWHE since it was established in 1998 as the umbrella division for the studio's specialty production units that develop and produce content for home video and animated TV series, including Universal Home Entertainment Prods. (UHEP), Universal Pictures Visual Programming (UPVP) and Universal Cartoon Studios.
A successor has not been named to Feola and the future direction of the nearly 40 employees, including many well-known animation production vets, will be determined in the next couple of months.
The trade reports that Feolas contract is up and that he has been asked to stay on during the transition period.
President of worldwide operations for the studio's home video division from 1992-98, Feola oversaw the release of home video successes such as E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL and spearheaded Universal's first made-for-DVD pic, the first animated sequel to THE LAND BEFORE TIME. The successful franchise has led to eight more sequel pics, earning nearly $1 billion for the studio.
Feola also supervised DVD-premiere sequels such as AN AMERICAN TAIL, BALTO, DARKMAN, TREMORS, K-9, BEETHOVEN and SLAP SHOT.
At UWHE, Feola produced the first new WOODY WOODPECKER TV cartoon series in more than 20 years in addition to THE MUMMY and SITTING DUCKS animated TV series. He also acquired international distribution rights to Mattel's computer-animated straight-to-DVD BARBIE movies.
Feola joined Universal in 1978 in the feature film division, holding various executive positions in distribution until becoming evp, U.S., of MCA/Universal Home Video in 1990.