Sony Pictures Entertainment is losing a respected executive as Michael De Luca leaves his post as president of production at Columbia Pictures for a producing gig at Universal.
His departure comes a little over a month after a robust box-office performance for "Fifty Shades of Grey," which De Luca produced and Universal distributed.
He was considered a candidate to replace Amy Pascal as co-chairman after the crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures in late November. However, the studio announced in February that Tom Rothman would take over for Pascal.
In a statement, De Luca called the departure "a really hard decision."
"I literally wish I could be in two places at once, but the opportunity to resume my producing career right now, including the possibility of continuing on the 'Fifty Shades' trilogy, makes this the right choice for me at this unique moment in time," he said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing to work with Columbia on my existing productions there."
De Luca was tapped head of production for Sony's Columbia Pictures unit in December 2013. He was known for his work on "Captain Phillips," "The Social Network" and "Moneyball," all titles that were released by Sony Pictures.
He previously also held senior production positions at DreamWorks and New Line Cinema. At DreamWorks, he oversaw the development of the Will Ferrell hits "Old School" and "Anchorman."
Doug Belgrad, president of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, said De Luca will "always be family to us."
"He is one of those guys who can do it all," said Belgrad, to whom De Luca reported. "As he transitions back to producing, we're thrilled that we'll be continuing to work with him on several Sony projects."