42 Shakeup: Co-Founder Rory Aitken Exiting, Ben Pugh Becomes Global Production Prez In Company Restructure

EXCLUSIVE: After a 12-year run, Rory Aitken, co-founder of London- and Los Angeles-based management and production company 42, is exiting the firm, which will undergo a restructure.

Aitken will be leaving in the coming weeks to form a new company with 42’s Head of Television Eleanor Moran and exec producer Miriam Brent, as well as multiple junior staff.

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In turn, 42 partner Ben Pugh will assume a global production role becoming President of Production, unifying film and TV production under his leadership.

Ben Cavey, the company’s current Head of Comedy and Entertainment, will be stepping up into an expanded role as MD of International TV, reporting to Pugh. Cavey is the former Managing Director of UK indie Tiger Aspect (Peaky Blinders) and a former Netflix exec. He will relocate from L.A. to the firm’s London office, and headcount may be added down the line.

Aitken will co-produce a number of projects with 42 going forward, selected from the slate they developed there. His new company will focus on both scripted series and features, with more details due in coming weeks.

42 will now be headed by partners Pugh, Kate Buckley, Cathy King, Simon Beresford and CEO Josh Varney. Two years ago the company got minority investment from Lionsgate and formed a three-way TV partnership with 3 Arts, which continues. The company, which has a headcount of around 65-70, formerly had a first-look deal with Netflix and now has a partnership with Amazon for international.

In February, 42 hired former Head of Studio for Universal International Studios David O’Donoghue as COO.

Pugh said: “Rory has been an incredible partner throughout our journey, and we consider ourselves deeply fortunate to have built 42 together with him over the last 12 years. We wish Rory, Eleanor and Miriam huge success, as we know the creativity, dedication and care that they bring to all they produce. We look forward to seeing the shows they will develop, as well as working in partnership on exciting co-production opportunities. We are also hugely excited for Ben Cavey expand his role at 42, he’s an exceptional producer with wonderful creative instincts and great relationships, we look forward to the groundbreaking shows we will build together.”

Aitken said: “The eleven years spent building 42 with my partners has been incredibly rewarding, but for the next chapter of my career, I felt a standalone production company is where I want to put my focus and energy. Eleanor, Miriam and I have worked together across a number of shows for many years at 42, so I’m excited to continue together building creatively bold and engaging content via our new venture.”

Upcoming, 42 has movie The Penguin Lessons starring Jonathan Pryce and Steve Coogan, The Road Trip starring Emma Appleton, Picture This with Simone Ashley for Amazon MGM, thriller The Bet for Warner Bros, and an untitled law school thriller from Andrew Sodroski for Netflix.

Among 42’s hundreds of clients are Jesse Armstrong, Julian Fellowes, Claire Denis, Charlie Brooker, Michael Caine, Sofia Boutella, Nicholas Hoult, Krysty Wilson Cairns, Lynne Ramsay, Nadine Labaki, Ed Skrein, Abi Morgan, Katherine Waterston, Jonny Lee Miller, Ralph Fiennes, Shane Meadows, Matthew Goode, Simon Russell Beale, Ciarán Hinds, Chris Chibnall, Will Davies, James Hawes and Indira Varma.

Previous movies have included Benedict Cumberbatch starrer The Courier and Netflix pics Outside the Wire and Night Teeth. TV has included HBO’s The Girl Before, Julian Fellowes’ The English Game and the starry re-do of Watership Down.

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