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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: People

UK Digital Minister resigns after stop No Deal Brexit vote

By Julian Clover

UK digital minister Margot James has resigned after refusing to back the government in a vote designed to prevent the next prime minister from suspending Parliament in order to push through a no-deal Brexit.

The current favourite to take over the leadership of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, is adamant the UK needs to leave the EU by October 31st.

In order to do so it had been suggested that he might delay the State Opening of Parliament, suspending it from sitting.

But a Group of MPs led by Chancellor Phillip Hammond broke ranks with the government and abstained in Thursday’s vote.

Ms James took on the role of Minister of State for Digital and the Creative in January 2018.

Volker Libovsky moves from Liberty Global to Magenta Telekom

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Volker Libovsky has joined Austrian telco Magenta Telekom as a new member of the management board.

As Chief Technology & Information Officer (CTIO), the 42-year-old is responsible for the IT, networks and operations of Deutsche Telekom’s Austrian subsidiary, including mobile and fibre-optic network deployment.

Libovsky previously worked at Liberty Global’s European headquarters as CIO/VP for systems integration and M&A and has decades of experience in management functions at Liberty Global, Unitymedia, Virgin Media and UPC.

Magenta Telekom emerged from the merger of T-Mobile Austria, the Austrian subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, with Liberty Global’s Austrian cable subsidiary UPC Austria.

Sergi Herrero joins Veon

By Chris Dziadul

Sergi Herrero has been appointed COO of Veon Ventures, effective September.

He will sit on Veon’s group executive committee and report to Ursula Burns, the chairman and CEO.

Herrero is currently Facebook’s global director of payments and commerce partnerships, where he has overseen the launch and growth of payment and commerce capabilities for Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. He has also led the deployment of Charitable Giving, the scaling and optimisation of the Facebook Ads payments business and driven the expansion of the platform’s global marketplace. Before joining Facebook in 2014, he held several senior roles in technology, banking and consulting.

At Veon, he will lead the new Ventures division and define the company’s growth plans beyond traditional connectivity, with a focus on adjacent, digital products.

Commenting on Herrero’s appointment, Burns said: “Sergi brings a wealth of experience and success from the world’s largest social network and his appointment is a sign of Veon’s intent with new revenue streams across our operating footprint.”

Herrero added: “Veon operates in some of the world’s most dynamic countries with relatively low smartphone ownership and young, growing populations who are increasingly demanding more digital services. This is clearly a commercial opportunity that Veon is well placed to capture.”

Jeroen Bergman to head Film1

By Chris Dziadul

SPI International has appointed Jeroen Bergman as MD of Film1 operations in the Netherlands.

The move follows the recent deal between Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Networks and SPI International confirming that as of August 1, 2019 SPI will fully own the Film1 brand and operate four pay movie services brands under the Film1umbrella: Film1 Premiere, Film1 Drama, Film1 Action and Film1 Family.

Bergman makes the transition to Film1 after 20 years of employment as MD of programming at Liberty Global. While at Liberty Global, he worked on the acquisition of the Dutch Canal+ assets by Liberty Global and managed them for six years during which the service re-launched as Film1 and Sport1.

Commenting on the appointment, Berk Uziyel, CEO of SPI International. said: “We are delighted to have Jeroen Bergman on board as MD of Film1 movie services. Jeroen’s extensive media and entertainment industry expertise will play a key role in strengthening Film1’s growth as the best premium movie service in the Netherlands. We are confident that Film1 will create a great success story in the Netherlands”.

Under the leadership of Bergman as MD of Film1, SPI International will continue to offer both linear channels as well as its digital services in the Netherlands.

Bergman said: “I am very excited to work with SPI International, a company I have come to know well for their strong presence in Europe. Their track record, superior programming and established content relationships will be of formidable help in driving the growth of Film1 in the Netherlands”.

Digi head sells shares

By Chris Dziadul

Serghei Bulgac, the DG of Digi Communications, has sold 100,000 shares in the company.

Quoting data published by the Bucharest Stock Exchange, Ziarul Financiar reports that the shares cost RON30 (€6.33) each, placing their total market value at RON3 billion.

It adds that this was the biggest sale of shares in Digi Communications so far this year.

Digi Communications is a one of the leading providers of pay-TV and broadband services in Romania (RCS&RDS) and Hungary (Digi).

Jackie Lee-Joe joins Netflix

By Chris Dziadul

Jackie Lee-Joe has been appointed CMO of Netflix, effective September.

She will be based in Los Angeles and succeed Kelly Bennett, who announced his retirement from the company earlier this year.

Lee-Joe has been CMO of BBC Studios since 2015, prior to which she was global director for audiences, entertainment marketing and broadcast media at Skype. She has over 20 years of marketing experience with leading media, technology and telecoms companies including Virgin Mobile, Carphone Warehouse and Orange.

Commenting on the appointment, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said: “Jackie is a truly original thinker with a wealth of global experience – making her the perfect fit as our next chief marketing officer. I’m excited to work with her in promoting our brand and original programming in new and creative ways to members all around the world”.

Lee-Joe added: “Netflix is a much loved and respected brand, entertaining audiences everywhere with its rich and thought provoking original programming. I’m thrilled to be joining one of the world’s most creative, dynamic and fearlessly innovative companies”.

A+E Networks promotes Patrick Vien

By Chris Dziadul

Patrick Vien has been named group MD – International at A+E Networks.

Previously co-executive MD, International, he will be responsible for A+E Networks international portfolio and businesses. He will also be based in New York and report to Paul Buccieri, president, A+E Networks Group.

Commenting on the appointment, Buccieri said: “Patrick is a talented executive who has helped steward our International vision in over 200 territories, bolstering our brands and expanding our fan base around the globe. I’m very confident in his leadership and keen to partner with him and his teams in building the next chapter of A+E International.”

Vien joined A+E Networks in 2017 as co-executive MD, International. Prior to this he was president of Pulse Films, chairman and CEO of Warner Music International, president of NBC Universal Global Networks and founder of the US cable networks Trio and Newsworld International.

Edward Sabin, who was co-executive MD alongside Vien, has decided to move on from A+E Networks to pursue other business interests.

Adam Fratto joins History

By Chris Dziadul

A+E Networks’ History has named former Reel One Entertainment executive Adam Fratto as VP of scripted programming for the network.

In his new role he will oversee development and production of History’s growing scripted slate and he will also develop projects for A+E Studios.

Based in Los Angeles, he will report into Eli Lehrer, executive VP and general manager for History, and Tana Jamieson, senior VP of programming for A+E Studios.

Commenting on the appointment, Lehrer said: “Adam is a seasoned producer with a stellar track record of developing programming with epic storytelling.

“He has the perfect creative instincts that will propel our scripted slate to the next level and I am confident he will be an asset to my senior team.”

Most recently, Fratto served as senior VP at Reel One Entertainment, where he launched a series division for the international distribution and production studio.

Prior to that, he was head of drama development for Pukeko Pictures.

Zegona strengthens Euskaltel board presence

By Chris Dziadul

Zegona has announced that it is making significant progress in its strategy to return the Spanish cable operator Euskaltel to growth.

A key component of that strategy is to increase its influence on the Euskaltel board and to that effect Robert Samuelson, Zegona’s COO, has been reappointed as Zegona’s second proprietary director on Euskaltel’s board at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting held on July 10.

At that meeting, shareholders also ratified the earlier appointments of Eamonn O’Hare, Zegona’s chairman and CEO, to the Euskaltel board and Jose Miguel Garcia as the new CEO of Euskaltel.

Ex Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao joins General Atlantic

By Chris Dziadul

Vittorio Colao has joined the global growth equity firm General Atlantic as special advisor.

Formerly the group chief executive of Vodafone Group, he will advise General Atlantic and its portfolio companies as the firm continues to execute on its global growth investing strategy.

Commenting on the appointment, Bill Ford, CEO of General Atlantic, said: “Vittorio shares our enduring conviction in the macro trends that are driving growth, including the transition to a digital economy and the transformative effect 5G will have on the tech sector.

“Vittorio’s track record at Vodafone is a testament to his ability to drive major change. His experience and insights will be immensely valuable to our portfolio worldwide and will also help us to uncover new opportunities to invest in innovative businesses.”

Colao said: “General Atlantic’s singular focus on investing in global growth companies sets it apart in the current phase of technology-driven opportunities. I admire the firm’s approach to working with companies to support and accelerate their growth in a fast digitizing economy, based on commitment to patience and purpose as pillars of its investment philosophy. In both the near and longer term, it will be critical to support and nurture those companies at the forefront of the digital transition in a dynamic – yet sustainable – way, as technology reshapes entire industries, sectors and markets.”

Gabriel Caillaux, MD and head of EMEA for General Atlantic, added: “We actively seek partnerships with innovators and entrepreneurs who are looking not only for capital, but for specialist expertise and counsel on how to scale a business at a regional and global level in a rapidly shifting market.

“We look forward to working with Vittorio to help navigate the unique set of opportunities and challenges faced by growth companies today.”

Colao was over 20 years with Vodafone Group, 10 of which were as group chief executive.

He currently serves as a non-executive director at Unilever in the UK/Netherlands and Verizon in the US.

Paul Rehrig to head Eurosport Digital

By Chris Dziadul

Discovery has appointed Paul Rehrig as general manager, Eurosport Digital. He joins Discovery from Eurosport and AMC Networks, where he served for nearly eight years as EVP of Digital and Business Development.

Rehrig was responsible for growing revenue from AMC Networks’ global digital partnerships and building the company’s successful direct-to-consumer subscription businesses.

In his new role at Discovery, Rehrig will oversee the development and implementation of strategies to enhance and grow Eurosport’s suite of digital direct-to-consumer products, including the Eurosport App, Eurosport Player and Eurosport.com. He will report to Pater Faricy, Discovery’s CEO, Global Direct-to-Consumer, and will be based in London where he will work closely with Andrew Georgiou, who joins Discovery later this year as president, Eurosport and Global Sports Rights & Sports Marketing Solutions, as well as the Eurosport and Discovery EMEA leadership teams.

Commenting on the appointment, Faricy said: “We are thrilled to welcome such a distinguished leader with a proven record of launching and running successful direct-to-consumer businesses and products globally. Paul is the perfect fit to lead our outstanding Eurosport Digital team as we focus on building products that sports fans love. As we look to the exciting opportunities ahead, Paul will ensure Eurosport delivers the immersive multi-screen products and experiences that are essential for powering people’s passions and engaging targeted global communities around sport.”

Rehrig commented: “I have been hugely impressed by how Eurosport has become a digital pioneer and leader in sports under Discovery’s leadership. Serving sports fans with programming and content across Europe is a significant responsibility and I’m thrilled to lead such a world-class team. There is a massive opportunity to enhance and expand Eurosport’s digital product experiences and innovate in myriad ways that more deeply engage fans and build audiences and subscribers across the region.”

Vodafone appoints Vinod Kumar

By Chris Dziadul

Vinod Kumar has been appointed CEO of Vodafone Business, effective September 2.

He will join the Executive Committee from that date and report to Vodafone Group chief executive Nick Read.

Kumar will succeed Vodafone Group CEO Rest of World, Vivek Badrinath, who has been acting as interim CEO of Vodafone Business since March 2019. He has been the MD and CEO of Tata Communications since 2011, after joining the company as COO in 2004.

Commenting on Kumar’s appointment, Read said: “Vinod is a very experienced business leader with a breadth of experience from across the globe. He is a great addition to Vodafone and the Executive Committee.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Vivek for his support this year in acting as interim CEO.”

Kumar added, “I am very excited to join the vibrant team at Vodafone Business. The global reach, the pervasive network and the brand loyalty that Vodafone has created makes it an ideal partner for any organisation’s digital transformation, regardless of size or industry.”

GoMedia promotes Egor Ermakov

By Chris Dziadul

The onboard infotainment platform developer GoMedia has promoted Egor Ermakov, one of its founders, to CTO.

His focus as CTO will be adopting future-proof cloud technologies to bring onboard entertainment and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) capabilities to rail and coach passengers worldwide.

Commenting on his appointment, Ermakov said “At GoMedia, we are committed to providing our customer base with the best content from around the world to combat passenger boredom and increase customer satisfaction. As our global network increases, we are utilising open source systems and cloud content delivery networks to ensure we can distribute our services with lower latencies, improving security compliance and setting the path for further development. Using this type of cutting-edge technology is something I’m very passionate about, and it means that we can support even more passengers from doorstep to destination.”

Matt Seaman, CEO of GoMedia, added: “Egor’s promotion marks a big step for GoMedia towards becoming the go-to onboard infotainment platform for public transport operators around the globe. His new role will enable us to develop our offering, and his involvement in the launch of our Personalised Passenger Information Service (PPIS) this year played a key part in this. We are excited for what the next few months will bring as we continue to bring rail into the MaaS conversation.”

Ermakov continued: “This is a crucial time for GoMedia as we create stronger MaaS links between all transport types, not just in the UK but around the world. By developing our industry partnerships and growing our internal technology team, we can build an infrastructure to support all passengers from the first to last mile of every journey.”

Bartosz Witak joins Poland’s Abstra

By Chris Dziadul

Bartosz Witak has become a member of the supervisory board at Abstra, Poland’s leading independent producer of video content for YouTube.

Most recently, in the period 2011-18, he was head of Viacom International Media Networks for Central Europe and Israel.

His appointment follows that of Rafal Agnieszczak, one of the most famous internet entrepreneurs in Poland, and the board now consists of Witak, Agnieszczak and Maciej Wandzel.

Commenting on the new board members, Maciej Szwarc, president of Abstra, said: “The main goals of Abstra are permanent development and the desire to expand our competences to the maximum. We feel great on YouTube and we’re looking to increase our presence on other platforms. To achieve this goal, we will need the experience of people with slightly different know-how from us. Bartosz Witak managed 16 branches of one of the largest television companies in the world, and Rafal Agnieszczak has been celebrating business triumphs in the Polish internet for over 10 years. The sum of their experience will enable us to gain a different perspective, which will be crucial for the development of our business”.

Robert Portman to head Eurovision Sport

By Chris Dziadul

Robert Portman been appointed head of winter sport at Eurovision Sport, a division of the EBU.

In his new role, which he will take up later this summer, he will manage the winter sports portfolio and lead the acquisition strategy for the sports rights property.

Portman has over 18 years of experience in sports broadcasting and rights management, having worked for the EBU’s Finnish member Yle since and 2001, most recently as head of sport and sports rights.

Commenting on his appointment, Portman said: “I am excited to join the EBU and the team at Eurovision Sport to lead on winter sports. With the ever-evolving media landscape, it is evident that sports will be one of the key elements for media companies in the future. I look forward working together with the team to secure important sport rights for our members. Furthermore, coming from the EBU member side, I hope I can contribute with my experience to further improve the dialogue and co-operation between the Members and the permanent services.”

Stefan Kurten, executive director Eurovision Sport, added: “We’re very pleased to welcome Robert to the team at Eurovision Sport. He brings with him great experience of winter sports combined with an in-depth understanding of the needs of our Members. Winter sports are an important part of our sports rights portfolio and greatly valued by our Member broadcasters, and we are pleased to be able to strengthen our team with senior executive of this level.”

Mike Darcey joins MTM consultancy

By Julian Clover

Former Sky chief operating officer and News UK CEO Mike Darcey has joined MTM as senior strategy advisor.

Darcey will work with MTM to advise and support clients across the pay-TV, telecoms, media and sports industries, bringing over 25 years of senior experience to MTM’s team.

MTM Managing Partner Jon Watts said: “We’re delighted to be working with Mike at this exciting moment in the media industry. I’ve known Mike for 20 years and have admired his enormous expertise and strategic acumen. Mike is enormously well respected across the industry and was at the heart of Sky’s decision-making during one of the pivotal periods in its history.”

Darcey spent 15 years at Sky first as director of strategy and then COO, a period thatv saw the launch of personal video recorder Sky+ and addressable advertising solution Sky AdSmart.

Mike Darcey said: “I’ve had a front row seat for the seismic changes in the media industry over the last 20 years and have enjoyed using this experience to help a range of media and technology companies. MTM is already doing fantastic work with many of these clients and has a world class strategy and research team with decades of media and technology expertise. I’m thrilled to be joining the team to help more pay-TV, telecoms and sports clients evaluate their sales strategies, explore new routes to market and navigate the rapidly evolving media landscape.”

Since leaving News UK, Darcey has worked with Comcast during the firm’s acquisition of Sky. He is also a non-executive director for transmission company Arqiva.

Dish Networks names Paul Orban CFO

By Robert Briel

Dish Network has promoted Paul W. Orban to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Orban, a 23-year veteran of DISH, had served as the company’s Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer, Principal Financial Officer and Controller. Orban will continue reporting to Dish President and CEO Erik Carlson.

“Paul has been with us virtually every step of the way, having joined Dish weeks before we signed our first customer,” said Carlson.

“His encyclopedic knowledge of every aspect of our business, its finances and its strategic vision has made him an indispensable counselor to me and an outstanding leader to our business.”

Orban joined Dish in 1996 as a member of the financial reporting team. He has since held various leadership positions with increasing responsibility including Director of Accounting and Vice President of Accounting. In 2006, Orban was named Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller for DISH. He also served as Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller at EchoStar Corporation from 2008 to 2012.

Before joining Dish, Paul was an auditor at Arthur Andersen LLP. A CPA, Paul holds his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Colorado.

Changes to Eutelsat executive committee

By Julian Clover

Philippe Oliva

Eutelsat is making some changes to its executive committee, bringing in a new chief commercial officer and revamping its deployment department as the strategy and resources department.

Philippe Oliva moves from executive vice-president, sales and products to succeed Michel Azibert as chief commercial officer. The 46 year-old will be responsible for defining and supervising the commercial policy, as well as generating revenue for the Group.

Michel Azibert will remain deputy chief executive Officer and, in this role, will participate in all matters of importance to the Group.

Jean-Hubert Lenotte

Jean-Hubert Lenotte, 51, who’s currently director of strategy and strategic marketing, will also be taking charge of the new strategy and resources department and will be responsible for Eutelsat’s satellite fleet, frequency management and resource planning.

The previous director of deployment, Jacques Dutronc will become director of development, coordinating Group-wide business development projects.

Disney+ hires Netflix’s Matt Brodlie

By Robert Briel

Disney has hired Netflix’s director of original film, Matt Brodlie.

He will be taking on the role of SVP, International Content Development, and will be responsible for developing a films and TV strategy for non-US markets, which will be important to the international growth for Disney+.

Brodlie will be reporting to Disney+ President, Content & Marketing Ricky Strauss.

“As we look to rollout Disney+ beyond the US over the next several years, Matt will play a critical role in the execution of our content strategy,” said Strauss.

“He is a proven executive with the right creative instincts and experience to help make Disney+ a place where talent can create original, high-quality content for audiences worldwide. We’re thrilled to have him join our team.”

“I am excited about this opportunity to join Disney+ at this pivotal moment and look forward to working collaboratively with the teams around the world to create premium entertainment that is relevant and enduring,” added Brodlie.

Andrew Georgia new president, Eurosport and Global Sports Rights & Sports Marketing Solutions

By Robert Briel

Discovery has appointed Andrew Georgiou as president, Eurosport and
Global Sports Rights & Sports Marketing Solutions.

Georgiou joins Discovery from Lagardère Sports and Entertainment, where he has served as CEO and Chief Operating Officer since 2014.

In this newly created role, Georgiou will drive the continued growth of Eurosport. He will also coordinate sports rights acquisitions for the Discovery group and represent all of Discovery with rights holders, federations and agencies. In addition, Georgiou will develop and help execute a strategy that leverages Discovery’s premium sports portfolio to create unique solutions for marketers around the world.

Georgiou will report to JB Perrette, President and CEO, Discovery International, who commented: “Andrew’s an impressive leader with a strong commercial and entrepreneurial passion and track record. He’s the ideal person to lead the continued expansion of Eurosport and help find new ways to bring Discovery’s unparalleled multi-screen capabilities and assets to work for rights holders and marketers across the globe. We are a different kind of media company, as we are powering peoples’ passions by building immersive multi-screen products and experiences for targeted global communities. Andrew will bring great additional horsepower to our world class team as we push to further accelerate and enhance our progress on this journey.”

Georgiou commented: “I admire how Discovery is using its leadership position with Eurosport to revolutionise the company’s approach to delivering sports content across all media channels. The company’s ambitious plans to change the way fans consume sport ‘they can’t live without’ is an exciting journey to be part of. I’m thrilled to join the best leadership team in media, and look forward to working with JB, Eurosport’s world-class team, and the larger Discovery group as we write this next chapter for sport.”

Georgiou has had a 13-year career at Lagardère Sports and Entertainment, which he joined in 2006 as Chief Operating Officer and later as CEO for its Asia business, before being elevated to the global CEO role in 2014. He has led a turnaround at the agency, integrating more than 10 sports and marketing agencies into an integrated global leader in sports and marketing. Prior to joining Lagardère, he was CEO of PGA Tour of Australasia.

He will assume his new role this fall as he continues to assist Lagardère SCA in finalising its previously announced sale of Lagardère Sports and Entertainment.