MGM co-chief set to quit in split over strategy

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NEW YORK - Denis Stanfill, co-chief executive of Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, is expected to submit his resignation on Tuesday to the owners of the troubled Hollywood studio, France's Credit Lyonnais, writes Larry Black.

His duties are likely to be assumed by Alan Ladd Jr, the studio's other chief executive and chairman, Hollywood sources said yesterday.

Mr Stanfill, the former chief executive of Newscorp's 20th Century Fox, had been responsible for corporate and financial affairs, and was brought in after the ousting of MGM's controversial former owner, Giancarlo Parretti, in late 1991. Mr Parretti paid dollars 1.3bn to acquire the studio from the Los Angeles investor Kirk Kerkorian in early 1990, but defaulted on the debt, almost all of it owed to the Netherlands subsidiary of Credit Lyonnais.

A US court awarded control of the studio to the French bank after a long legal battle. Credit Lyonnais has since spent an estimated dollars 600m keeping MGM in business, and is said to be losing dollars 1m a day.

Mr Stanfill, who will tender his resignation to a meeting of MGM directors in Paris, has clashed with the bank and Mr Ladd over his plan to expand the studio beyond basic film-making. Credit Lyonnais is said to be wary of extending MGM.

Mr Ladd, the son of the late movie actor, was responsible for production, distribution and marketing of MGM films, a position he held under Mr Parretti.