Sarah Lewthwaite and Matthew Liebmann, two veteran senior executives at film analytics firm Movio will co-lead the company upon the departure next month of co-founder and CEO Will Palmer.
After his departure, Palmer plans to launch a new venture studio, whose first product will be a relationship app called Cupla, which he developed with his wife, Erika. It has recently closed its pre-seed investment round and is due to launch in early 2022.
Movio, a division of Vista Group International, was founded by Palmer and Peter Beguely in 2010. It is known for products like Movio Cinema, which crunches numbers from more than 39 million active moviegoers from global theater circuits. Insights from Movio Cinema have been used by distributors and exhibitors planning release campaigns.
Lewthwaite, who has been Movio’s London-based chief client officer, and Liebmann, the company’s New Zealand-based chief operating officer, will report directly to Vista Group CEO Kimbal Riley.
“Movio is indebted to Will for the tremendous bench strength he has developed,” Riley said. “Matthew and Sarah are world class leaders, each deeply respected within Movio, Vista Group, and the entire theatrical sector. Both Will and I have the utmost faith in their ability to guide the Movio team as it continues to deliver outstanding results now and into the future.”
In leading client efforts, Lewthwaite has been responsible for all of Movio’s exhibition, film studio, and distributor relationships globally. She established Movio Cinema in the EMEA market, growing the region’s cinema client base to more than 40 exhibitors in more than 30 countries, while launching Movio Media and Movio Research in the UK, and forming partnerships with key film studio and distribution partners.
Prior to Movio, Lewthwaite spent 15 years in the cinema industry in Canada, including as VP of Marketing at Cineplex Entertainment.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be leading Movio into the future,” Lewthwaite said. “We are at a pivotal time in the cinema industry and I am both optimistic and excited for what is to come, and how Movio will continue to evolve to support the needs of our clients.”
As COO at Movio, Liebmann has overseen worldwide strategy and operations for Movio Cinema. Prior to joining Movio, Liebmann spent much of his career in cinema exhibition. He launched and directed the guest loyalty program at Hoyts Cinema Australia and was a leading entertainment and media consultant at PwC Australia.
“I have been involved with Movio for almost 10 years, first as a client and then as an employee, so I truly understand the product, team, and legacy that Will and his co-founder Peter Beguely created,” Liebmann said. “I’m excited to build upon their achievements for the benefit of our industry, our clients and moviegoers and I cannot think of a better partner in this than Sarah Lewthwaite.”
Palmer saluted the “collective talent and constant drive” of Movio staffers. “And while there is still so much more to achieve, I felt the time was right to hand the reins to two outstanding executives and personal friends, Sarah Lewthwaite and Matthew Liebmann. Their energy and enthusiasm for the film industry is unparalleled and I have no doubt they will ensure Movio’s ongoing success.“
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