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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: People

Virgin Media Ireland appoints Paul Higgins as Vice President, Commercial

By Julian Clover

Virgin Media Ireland has appointed Paul Higgins as Vice-President of Commercial.

Paul Higgins has been with the Irish cablenet for five years, most recently as consumer director.

Prior to joining Virgin Media, Paul held senior level commercial positions in the Telecommunications, Media, Technology and FMCG sectors in Ireland, the UK and Australia.

Tony Hanway, CEO of Virgin Media Ireland, said: “At Virgin Media we are big believers in promoting talented people from within and Paul has demonstrated that he delivers superior results through teamwork and a laser like focus on Customers.”

In his new board level appointment, Higgins will cover sales, marketing, product delivery, and digital channels and will continue to drive growth in the company’s entertainment, connectivity and mobile business.

Matt McConnell appointed new MediaKind CEO

By Julian Clover

The former SVP & General Manager of Comcast Technology Solutions has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of MediaKind.

Matt McConnell brings over 30 years’ experience in the media industry, driving growth, building innovative technology platforms and enabling service providers to operate at scale.

McConnell will report directly to the board of directors, including former CEO Angel Ruiz, who takes up the position of Chairman of the Board.

“We are experiencing unprecedented changes in the way people consume content, and our customers need to adjust their technology footprints and business models to meet these dynamic consumer need,” said McConnell. “I am excited to be leading this charge as we increasingly focus on creating products that harness the potential of the cloud and maximise the power of streaming.”
At Comcast, McConnell established and operated the Comcast Technology Solutions division from 2012-2018. During this time, revenue more than quadrupled and McConnell transformed the organisation from 200 US domestic employees to a global cloud video products business with offices in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

“The market and consumer behaviours are changing faster than ever and Matt is a battle-proven media executive with an extensive track record in successfully leading and growing business in this sector,” said Ruiz.

MediaKind is a joint venture between One Equity Partners and Ericsson.

Trio to manage Russia’s Match TV

By Chris Dziadul

The Gazprom Media sports channel Match TV will from now be simultaneously managed by three MDs.

Kommersant reports that they will be Alexander Weinstein, Oleg Rumyantsev and Alexander Tashchin.

Quoting a source familiar with the details, it adds that Tashchin will be responsible for the operational management of the channel, programme strategy, evaluating the feasibility of launching new products and monitoring their effectiveness.

Meanwhile, Rumyantsev will be responsible for marketing and interaction with government agencies and relevant associations, and Weinstein for the purchase of sports rights and interaction with copyright holders and sponsors.

Tashchin previously headed the sports broadcasting directorate of VGTRK, and until 2015 he worked on the Russia 2 channel, on whose frequency Match TV was launched.

Rumyantsev was director of communications at Rostelecom until 2013, and then moved to OKR, where he headed the ANO Directorate of Programmes for Assistance to the OCD Development Directorate, worked with fans and developed committee projects.

Weinstein has worked in sports marketing. Up until 2012, he was the director of the international agency IMG in Russia and the CIS, then he worked at the Telesport agency, and in recent years led his own company Eventmedia.

Gazprom Media makes managerial changes

By Chris Dziadul

Russia’s Gazprom Media has replaced the management team of its subsidiary GPM Entertainment Television (GPM RTV).

In a statement, it says that within the framework of the existing management structure, from July 7 Svetlana Fefilova, deputy DG of Gazprom Media, and Ruben Oganesov, advisor to the general director, will take on the positions of MDs of GPM RTV. They will manage the company together with Roman Petrenko Commenting on the appointments.

Alexander Zharov, general director of Gazprom Media Holding, said: “Gazprom Media is a leader in the entertainment and sports television segment in Russia. A powerful production base has been formed, vast expertise and experience in launching successful projects has been accumulated, GPM RTV television channels are the flagships of domestic broadcasting. The results of our entertainment assets have a huge impact on the operating and financial performance of the holding. In today’s unstable situation, when the industry is undergoing serious transformational changes, we made a logical and informed decision to strengthen the holding’s participation in managing this segment and increase the involvement of Gazprom Media management in the strategic and operational management of the RTV GPM. I am convinced that the new managing directors – Ruben Oganesov and Svetlana Fefilova – will be able to help the sub-holding team take our segment of entertainment TV to a whole new level”.

Vladimir Chopov and Sergey Shishkin, who held the positions of managing directors of GPM RTV, have decided to leave the company.

New CEOs for Orange in Poland and Belgium

By Chris Dziadul

Julien Ducarroz and Xavier Pichom have been appointed CEO of Orange Polska and Orange Belgium respectively.

Both will take up their new positions on September 1.

Ducarroz is currently the CEO of Orange Moldova and will replace Jean-François Fallacher, who is moving to become CEO of Orange Spain. His appointment will be fully ratified when Orange’s supervisory board is able to conduct the necessary formal voting, which should take place on the occasion of its planned meeting on July 21.

Meanwhile, Pinchon will succeed Michaël Trabbia, who will join the Orange executive committee CTIO for the group, overseeing the technology & global innovation division. He will re-join Orange from the Boston Consulting Group; prior to this, he was deputy CEO at Orange France, leading its finance, strategy, transformation and development.

Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière will take over responsibility for the Europe region from Ramon Fernandez, deputy CEO, finance, performance and Europe director. From September 1, she will be leading the Europe perimeter of Orange, which will comprise Belgium, Luxembourg, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Spain.

The rest of the European leadership team remains unchanged, with Jean-Marc Vignolles as COO for Europe, Liudmila Climoc as CEO of Orange Romania, Federico Colom as CEO of Orange Slovakia and Corinne Lozé as CEO of Orange Luxembourg.

Orange is currently recruiting for a new CEO for Orange Moldova, who will be announced in due course.

Kjell Morten Johnsen to head Tele2

By Chris Dziadul

Kjell Morten Johnsen, previously COO of Veon and head of Telenor Europe, will replace Anders Nilsson as president and CEO of Tele2 as of September 15.

Nilsson indicated earlier this year to the Board that he was considering stepping down from his role at some point in the future, provided a solid succession plan was in place. Tele2’s board of directors has therefore conducted a structured process and this has been finalised with the appointment of Johnsen, who has over 20 years of experience in the telecom sector including many leadership roles.

Commenting on the appointment, Carla Smits-Nusteling, chairman of the board at Tele2, said: With the integration of Com Hem behind us and an ambitious transformation journey ahead, I am pleased that Kjell Morten Johnsen has agreed to join Tele2. His vast experience as a leader in global telecommunications will be a great asset for Tele2, which will continue to thrive under his leadership”.

Johnsen added: “I am honoured by the opportunity to lead Tele2 going forward. The company has a great history as a challenger and innovator in the telecommunications sector and has gone through an impressive transformation journey over the last few years. I see a bright future, and I look forward to being part of Tele2’s journey through both challenges and the great opportunities ahead”.

Smits-Nusteling continued: “While the board regrets to see Anders Nilsson leave the company, we respect his decision and would like to thank him for his great contribution to Tele2. Anders’ leadership and devotion made it possible for Tele2 to execute on an impressive transformation in a short time and deliver significant value to all its stakeholder”.

Nilsson said: “It has been six very intense and fantastic years running Com Hem and Tele2. I have however now come to the conclusion that it is time for me to take a break and focus on other things in life for a while. This was not an easy decision as there is no good time to leave a great company, but we have a highly capable and motivated team to make the next chapter of our strategy happen. I will definitely continue to cheer them on from the sideline. I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who made this journey possible and supported the team and me. It’s been a true honour”.

Hrvatski Telekom promotes execs

By Chris Dziadul

The Croatian incumbent Hrvatski Telekom (HT) has appointed Marijana Bacic to the new position of VP for corporate sales and Jerko Dumanic VP for VSE/SME, business marketing and channel management.

Both will take on their new VP roles on August 1.

Bacic has been the director of the corporate sales sector since 2017 and Dumanic the director of the business marketing sector since 2014.

At the same time, with the introduction of a leaner organisational structure, HT has abolished the current chief business officer function and transfered it to the CEO’s area of responsibilities. The new B2B organisation will be divided between Bacic and Dumanic, who will report directly to the CEO.

Bacic and Dumanic have been at HT since 2001 and 2002 respectively.

Martina Rutenbeck new managing director of Divicon Media

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Martina Rutenbeck will take over the management of German technical services provider Divicon Media on July 1, 2020.

Her task will be to continue transmitter network and broadcasting operations as the company’s core business, to supplement its periphery with additional services and products, and to develop Divicon Media into an infrastructure and service company in the medium term.

Rutenbeck brings with her three decades of expertise and experience, particularly in building up platform businesses and realigning teams, as well as an extensive network of broadcasting companies, regulatory bodies and infrastructure providers, from numerous positions and projects in the media industry.

Most recently, Rutenbeck was responsible for the expansion, sales and marketing of BrightBlue, the independent IPTV technology platform of Deutsche Glasfaser.

Prior to that, she held the position of managing director of German TV and service platform KabelKiosk of satellite operator Eutelsat for more than 12 years from 2003. After the takeover by M7 Group, she became head of M7 Deutschland in 2014 and subsequently built up the independent TV carriage rights provider content4tv together with investors and partners starting in 2016.

Previous stations in her career include Deutsche Telekom, SES Astra and SMC Management Consulting.

With Rutenbeck’s appointment, Ulrich Gathmann will end his role as interim manager of Divicon Media as planned.

Sergey Shnurov joins RTVI

By Chris Dziadul

Sergey Shnurov, one of the most successful content producers in Russia, has been appointed the general producer of the international Russian-language television channel RTVI.

In this role, he will develop the channel’s general creative strategy and will take part in creating new programme concepts. He will also work on renewing RTVI’s positioning and promoting the brand.

Commenting on the appointment, RTVI’s majority owner Mikayel Israelyan said: “While working on expanding our business and increasing our audience, striving to keep the ties with Russian culture, we studied best practices and decided to create a new position and offer it to Sergey, who’s well known both in Russia and abroad. Sergey frequently visits countries with a high concentration of Russian-speakers and perfect-ly understands the mentality of our diaspora. We are sure that with Sergey coming on board RTVI will develop a new unique voice”.

Shnurov has been described as Russia’s most popular rock star. He said: “Throughout my life I’ve been working with the collective image of a Russian person, the topic of our mentality has always been the centre of my attention. In my work, I try to maintain a connection between our culture and language. Leading the RTVI team, I plan to develop a platform for discussing the most pressing and relevant issues on the international agenda that directly affect the political and social life of Russian speakers around the world”.

RTVI is based in New York and broadcasts in 53 countries to a potential audience of 225 million people.

James Baker to leave Red Arrow Studios

By JΓΆrn Krieger

James Baker, CEO of Red Arrow Studios, has decided to leave the production subsidiary of German media company ProSiebenSat.1 when his contract expires at the end of 2020.

Following his departure, ProSiebenSat.1 will install an advisory board at Red Arrow Studios, comprising Rainer Beaujean, Chairman of the Executive Board and CFO of ProSiebenSat.1, Wolfgang Link, Member of the Board and CEO of SevenOne Entertainment, and Henrik Pabst, Chief Content Officer of SevenOne Entertainment.

The existing Red Arrow Studios management team will report directly to the new advisory board. This new structure underlines ProSiebenSat.1’s strategy to focus on local and live entertainment in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in close cooperation with Red Arrow Studios, according to the company.

“Over the last 10 years James has developed and strengthened the operational performance of Red Arrow Studios – including an 18% growth in revenues in 2019 – and he has successfully driven the expansion of our German content ecosystem. We would like to thank him for his contribution to the business and wish him every success for the future,” said Beaujean.

Baker added: “I have greatly enjoyed the last 10 years at Red Arrow Studios, working with talented people and creating exciting content around the world. Red Arrow Studios is in the good hands of my senior leadership team, and I wish everyone the very best.”

No details were given on the reasons for Baker’s departure and his further occupation.

Gamze Utma joins Kanal D

By Chris Dziadul

Gamze Utma has been appointed sales executive for Asia for Kanal D International.

Commenting on the development, Kerim Emrah Turna, executive director of Kanal D International, said: “we are pleased to announce that Gamze Utma has joined Kanal D International as sales executive, Asia. She will play a key role in one of the most important accounts and will bring a wealth of experience to the distribution arm of Kanal D International”.

Kanal D International is the global business arm of Turkey’s Kanal D broadcasting under Demirören Media.

DAZN promotes James Rushton

By Chris Dziadul

James Rushton has been appointed the acting CEO of DAZN Group.

He was the CEO for the launch of DAZN in 2016 and prior to his current promotion was the chief revenue officer at DAZN Group, responsible for the leadership and commercial performance of its in-market teams.

Commenting on the promotion, executive chairman John Skipper said: “James has been with the organisation for the better part of two decades and brings a huge amount of experience and skill to enable us to deliver on our potential”.

Meanwhile, Simon Denyer, who created and led DAZN since it was first conceived within Perform Group, a company he founded in 2007, takes on a new role at Access Industries to advise on new ventures in sports.

Skipper added: “Simon is an innovator and his talents will be a tremendous asset to Access as that organisation looks to explore new opportunities in the sports landscape. We wish Simon well in this new endeavour”.

At the same time, Ed McCarthy from Access Industries will join DAZN to play a critical role in delivering the group’s strategy.

ER-Telecom promotes Andrei Semerikov

By Chris Dziadul

Andrei Semerikov has been appointed chairman of the board of directors of Russia’s ER-Telecom Holding.

He will replace Elena Ivanshentseva, who has held the post for the last few years. In turn, she will continue to work for the board of directors.

Semerikov headed ER-Telecom as general director from 2001-2018. He later moved to the position of deputy chairman of the board of directors of the company.

Semerikov is also the VP of the Russian Cable Television Association.

Gazprom Media revamps senior management

By Chris Dziadul

Russia’s Gazprom Media has announced important changes to its senior management team.

Svetlana Fefilova, Yulia Golubeva and Ruben Oganesov, who are currently advisers to the CEO, have been appointed to the positions of deputy general managers. The appointments take effect on June 30, July 13, and July 17 respectively.

Meanwhile, the current deputy managers Alexey Krasnov, Denis Sekachev and Tatyana Dobrokhvalova have decided to leave the company.

Commenting on the changes, the general director of the holding Alexander Zharov said: “I congratulate the new deputies on their appointment to key positions for the holding. I know them for a long time and I am sure that for this stage of the holding’s development we have formed an optimal team. In the context of a serious transformation of the entire industry and the active phase of developing a new holding strategy with a focus on digital channels, products and solutions, we need special competencies and innovative business approaches. I am glad that Svetlana, Ruben and Julia agreed to become part of our new team, which will face the challenge of improving the holding’s business and finding new sources of synergy between its assets. I am sincerely grateful to Tatyana, Alexei and Denis for their joint work over the past three months. These are excellent professionals, experienced managers, effective managers who deeply know the industry and individual segments of the business. I wish them success in all their new projects!”

In the management structure of the holding, first deputy general director Svetlana Balanova will continue to be responsible for strategic and corporate development, information technology and the digital transformation complex.

In the future, the distribution of powers between deputies will be clarified as part of the development and approval of a new holding strategy.

Magine Pro strengthens sales team

By Julian Clover

Magine Pro is bringing in new members to its sales team from Wyplay, Edgeware and Jump TV as the company continues its international expansion.

Daniele Veronese is the new sales director for Southern Europe. He was previously a sales manager at middleware company Wyplay, beforehand he worked with Cisco’s IPTV and Connected Home services.

Syed Gillani is the new technical sales manager. He joins Magine Pro from Swedish streaming technology provider Edgware, where he has held various positions, most recently Global TAC Manager and R&D Manager.

Guillermo Magaña will cover the Latam and US markets. Before joining Magine Pro as sales director, Americas, Guillermo worked as Sales Director Mexico for JUMP, a data platform for video services.

“I am delighted that we have succeeded in bringing in these top appointments’, says Luke Boyle, CCO of Magine. “I am sure these guys will add commercial wisdom and successfully continue our path to be the number one platform for the mid market OTT segment.”

Last year, the OTT platform pivoted its business to focus entirely on the B2B sector. Its subsequently developed an its end-to-end OTT platform for content owners, broadcasters and telcos in the mid market tiers.

Chris Pulis joins Globecast

By Chris Dziadul

Globecast has appointed Chris Pulis its CTO for the Americas, effective immediately.

In his new role, he will be responsible for all technical aspects for the Americas including establishing Globecast’s vision and growth through the use of technical resources.

Pulis has 25 years of experience in business and technology operations. At Globecast he will work closely with sales and media executives to develop technology applications for customers, providing leadership to operations line managers, negotiating with clients, and developing and overseeing the strategy for representation in major industry technology groups. Pulis is based in Los Angeles and reports to Eddie Ferraro, MD Globecast Americas.

Commenting on the appointment, Ferraro said: “As a market-leading media services provider in an industry that’s experiencing continued major change, we never want to be stagnant; we always want be focused on growth and technological innovation. This is why Chris is the ideal fit for CTO across the Americas because he has the vision necessary to keep driving us forward and the technical acumen and experience to deliver the solutions our clients expect”.

Pulis was previously VP, product strategy, at digital technology consultancy Diamond in Los Angeles, where he worked on digital transformation initiatives and distribution strategy for content owner clients. Prior to that, he held multiple senior positions at Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. He has also held roles with Ascent Media Group and ReelzChannel Television Network, among others.

Pulis said, “We’re seeing significant shifts across the media, entertainment and technology sector, not least the move to cloud playout and alternative affiliate distribution technologies alongside our work with direct-to-consumer social media platforms. I’m excited to be joining Globecast as we continue to grow its role as a modern, multi-faceted media services supplier”.

Frank Hoffmann to head German news channel WELT

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Frank Hoffmann will become the new TV managing director of WeltN24 on September 1, 2020.

The subsidiary of German media group Axel Springer operates news channel WELT, documentary channel N24 Doku and production company Maz&More.

Hoffmann, previously programme director of RTL in Germany, succeeds Torsten Rossmann, who is leaving the management board by the end of 2020. In future, he will advise Axel Springer on its TV and video strategy and will continue to hold his supervisory board mandates, for example at VG Media, AGF and on the VAUNET board.

Tomaz Jontes joins Telekom Slovenije board

By Chris Dziadul

The supervisory board of Telekom Slovenije has appointed Tomaz Jontes a new member of the management board for commercial affairs.

In his new role he will be responsible for B2C, B2B and marketing.

Jontes joined Telekom Slovenije Group in 2002 as an advisor in the commercial department at Mobitel. In 2005 he took over as the director of Planet 9, and between 2009 and 2011 he was the marketing director at Mobitel. Since 2011 he has worked as a strategist in different departments of Telekom Slovenije and between March 2017 and January 2019 he was the marketing communications director at the B2B organisational unit.

Jontes began his four-year term as a management board member of Telekom Slovenije this Monday, June 22.

Changes at the top for Telia

By Chris Dziadul

Markus Messerer has been appointed SVP, chief of strategy, innovation & head of global business at Telia Group.

He is currently the CEO of Alltron AG, Swiss IT group Competec’s B2B business, and will bring experience in digital transformation and ICT.

Meanwhile, Rachel Samrén has been appointed SVP, chief external affairs, governance & trust officer. She is currently EVP, chief external affairs officer and member of the group executive team of Millicom. She joins the company with experience in external affairs and risk management. Prior to Millicom she served as director, head of business intelligence, at The Risk Advisory Group.

Dan Strömberg will step up and take over as SVP, head of LED (Lithuania, Estonia and Denmark), while continuing also in his present role as CEO for Telia Lithuania. He has held various senior manager positions in Telia Company since the late 1990s.
Messerer and Samrén will join Telia Company during Q4 and Strömberg will start in his new role on August 1.

As a result of these changes, Ingrid Stenmark SVP, head of CEO Office, Åsa Jamal SVP, head of group communications and Emil Nilsson SVP, head of LED, will leave the company. Peter Borsos, SVP, head of Telia Global, will continue in his present role and will also oversee group communications until the new organisation is implemented and Messerer and Samrén have started in their respective roles. Borsos will step down and leave the company during Q4.

Commenting on the changes, Allison Kirkby, president and CEO of Telia Company, said: “As we prepare to renew Telia’s purpose and strategy, I am delighted that Markus, Rachel and Dan will join our group executive management team. Each of them are experienced and outstanding leaders, who will be excellent role models of the Telia values, and bring a broad range of sector knowledge and hands-on operational experiences from our industry, and beyond. I have every confidence that these changes will help us accelerate our transformation journey and establish a new era of success for Telia.

“I also want to give my huge and heartfelt thanks to Ingrid Stenmark, Peter Borsos, Emil Nilsson and Åsa Jamal who all have been valuable members of Telia Company’s group executive management for many years and have contributed significantly to the company”.

Srini Gopalan to head Deutsche Telekom in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Srini Gopalan, currently board member for Europe, will be the new board member for Germany at Deutsche Telekom as of November 1, 2020.

He succeeds Dirk Wössner, who will become chairman of the board of management of Compugroup from 2021. In his new role, Gopalan will be responsible for Deutsche Telekom’s mobile and fixed-network business in Germany.

Timotheus Höttges, chairman of the board of management of Deutsche Telekom, is looking forward to working with Gopalan in his new position: “The best get the most challenging jobs. What he has achieved so far for Deutsche Telekom is remarkable. The Europe segment is in very good shape, he has put it back on the growth track.”

“Srini has a broad base and knows our industry inside out. He is characterised by a good understanding of our customers’ needs combined with strong analytical skills. He has known our industry for over ten years,” said Höttges.

“During this time, he has gained valuable experience in both Europe and India, two of the most important telecommunications markets in the world. His focus will be on the expansion of a high-performance FTTH infrastructure in Germany and the extension of our 5G market leadership. The Corona crisis has shown how important stable and performant networks are.”

Gopalan added: “I have great respect for the new task and look forward to working with a great management team and very wonderful and highly motivated employees. The conditions for continuing the team’s successful work are very good. At the same time, the challenges are great: With the construction of the 5G network and the FTTH infrastructure for Germany, two major projects will challenge us in the next few years. They are of decisive importance for the future of Germany as a business location.”

Gopalan will continue to head the Europe department on a temporary basis until a successor has been found. Gopalan has been responsible for the board of management department for Europe since January 2017. Prior to this, h was responsible for the consumer business at Indian telecommunications provider Bharti Airtel.