Faith Penhale, decorated TV drama producer and CEO of Gentleman Jack indie Lookout Point, is leaving the BBC Studios-backed outfit to head up Pathe Productions, with Cameron McCracken stepping down to Head of Film.
After 23 years with Pathe most recently as MD, McCracken will now report to Penhale. He will continue to manage the production and distribution of the film slate including the likes of Richard Eyre’s Allellujah and the Michael Caine-starring The Great Escaper.
In her newly-created role, Penhale will be focused on leading Pathe UK’s expansion into TV drama. She will officially take up the position in March 2023
The news that McCracken is being moved out of the MD position will come as a surprise to many in the U.K. film industry, although there have been rumors that the executive was preparing to stand down for some months.
At the same time, Penhale’s appointment and Pathé’s further push into TV in the U.K. will be seen as pragmatic and a sign of the times.
Nonetheless, it is a significant move from parent company Pathé, which is one of France’s oldest and biggest film companies alongside Gaumont.
Penhale’s hire is a signature one. She has been CEO of one of the UK’s biggest drama indies for the past couple of years, since the departure of Simon Vaughan in 2020. She has overseen the likes of Gentleman Jack, Les Miserables, Happy Valley and War and Peace, all for the BBC.
“Pathe is iconic,” said Penhale, pointing to 70 BAFTA and 50 Oscar nominations during McCracken’s tenure including Slumdog Millionaire and Philomena. “The opportunity to build on this unparalleled history – to be the most exceptional, talent focussed, proudly independent home for the best storytellers – was irresistible. I have had the most unforgettable seven years at Lookout Point and with BBC Studios and while I am sad to be saying goodbye to many inspirational friends and colleagues, I can’t wait to get started on this next new chapter.”
Pathe Films President Ardavan Safaee hailed Penhale’s “extraordinary skills and experience that will lead Pathe into the world of scripted television – our new primary focus in the UK.”
“Her track record and her will to continue what Cameron has been building for many years, is in perfect alignment with Pathe’s ongoing efforts to be the natural home for the very best talents,” he added.