Eastman Kodak Co. is enduring tough times these days, but perhaps a change in leadership will help jump-start the company’s fortunes. The photography giant announced yesterday that it has promoted its general counsel, Laura Quatela, to president, effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Quatela, who joined the company in 1999 and since 2008 was responsible for monetizing Kodak’s intellectual property, will serve alongside current President Phil Faraci. Both Quatela and Faraci will report to CEO Antonio Perez.

“Laura’s election reflects her increasing role in the company, including the strategic importance of the intellectual property business,” Perez said in a release.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Quatela’s role at Kodak has grown as the company’s fortunes declined. When Kodak made her head of intellectual property, it also set a goal to generate between $250 million and $350 million a year in patent licensing. However, she quickly surpassed that benchmark after striking a $550 million licensing deal with Samsung Electronics Co. and a $400 million deal with LG Electronics Inc., as well as other deals that were instrumental in keeping the company afloat.

Taking the reins from Quatela is Patrick Sheller, formerly Kodak’s deputy general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer.

Kodak also announced yesterday that it will sell Eastman Gelatine Corp. as part of its now-concerted effort to divest all non-core assets and focus on its transformation into a digital company. While the financial details were not disclosed, the sale to Rousselot is expected to be completed within 30 days.

For more on Quatela and Kodak, read the Wall Street Journal.