EXCLUSIVE: Universal executive Xavier Albert, who has been Managing Director for France since 2016, is taking on a dual-market role with the studio and will also become Managing Director for Italy. Albert will take over the MD Italy post from Richard Borg who is retiring in July after 30 years with the Universal Pictures International organization.
Universal’s President of International Distribution, Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, made the news official in a note to staff today.
This dual-market role is a first for UPI. Said Kwan Vandenberg, “I believe it positions us well to have a multi-market perspective in these regions as we continue to navigate the evolving industry landscape.” Albert, she said, “is well-placed to take on this new expanded role and effectively lead both regions through the continuing effects of the pandemic and towards a post-pandemic recovery.”
Albert will report to the new Executive Vice President of EMEA, a role that is in the process of being filled. In the interim, he will report directly to Niels Swinkels, EVP International Distribution.
Before joining Universal, Albert held several executive roles at Netflix and Disney in France. Over the past five years, he has “brilliantly managed the distribution of our Universal slate in France, as well as great results with local content fare,” Kwan Vandenberg noted. “He is a respected leader known for empowering his team and developing internal talent for new opportunities, which I know are qualities he will also apply towards the Italy team… We are incredibly fortunate to have remarkable leadership teams in both France and Italy, and I believe under this new structure led by Xavier there will be new opportunities for growth and development across both teams,” Kwan Vandenberg added.
This latest shift in Universal’s overseas management follows changes to the leadership teams for Germany/Austria and the Netherlands late last year.