Michael Hightower has been named president of Universal Creative, heading the design and creation of Universal's ride experiences around the world. He'll assume the post on Jan. 1.

Hightower, currently senior vice president and executive project director for Universal Parks & Resorts, will take the post from Mark Woodbury. Woodbury will become chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts, as announced earlier this week.

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Hightower joined Universal in 1995, helping develop new products at Universal parks domestically and abroad. Most recently, he has focused on the opening of the Universal Beijing Resort. He has also had a hand in opening Universal's Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Singapore and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter -- Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort.

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