Universal's longtime distribution chief Nikki Rocco to retire

Nikki Rocco, the veteran head of domestic distribution at Universal Pictures, will retire at the end of this year, she said Tuesday.  

Rocco, the first woman to become president of a major studio’s distribution operations, has worked for the studio for nearly five decades.

Rocco, 64, first joined Universal Pictures as a paid intern in 1967 while she was a high-school senior, after which she was hired to work in the company's New York office. She has been Universal's head of domestic distribution since 1996. 

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"Nikki Rocco is an industry icon, and in the short time I’ve been with the company it’s been clear why she is held in such high regard," said Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman Jeff Shell in a statement.

The company has not yet named a successor. 

In 2013, Universal Pictures' movies grossed $1.42 billion domestically, driven by hits including "Despicable Me 2" and "Fast & Furious 6."

"Universal has been my home longer than any other home I’ve had, so it’s hard to imagine not coming to the lot every day and not crunching numbers with my team every weekend," said Rocco in a statement.  "I am excited to spend time with family and friends and travel, but I’ll likely still be up at 4 a.m. checking box-office numbers."

After she retires, Rocco will become a consultant for the studio.


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