Turner to create new digital division

Aksel van der Wal

Aksel van der Wal

Turner has tasked Aksel van der Wal will establishing a new division that will focus on international digital innovation.

Van der Wal is currently senior VP and CFO of Turner International, but has been promoted to executive VP, digital ventures and innovation, effective January 1, 2017.

The division will house Turner’s direct-to-consumer products. Its establishment comes days after the Time Warner-owned channels group launched its first SVOD service, indie movies-focused FilmStruck.

Officially, the new unit will focus on “driving profitable growth through international consumer-centric initiatives, including all of Turner’s international multi-platform suite of digital properties and its direct-to-consumer product strategy”.

Van der Wal will work closely with Turner International’s presidents, and will work to create new D2C businesses, and will identify areas and opportunities for Turner.

Turner SVP, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions Trey Turner will replace van der Wal as international CFO, reporting to group CFO and EVP Pascal Desroches and working closely with international president Gerhard Zeiler.

Van der Wal, meanwhile, will report to Zeiler, who said: “As our industry undergoes huge evolution, the impact of digital disruption and changing consumer behaviour continues to put audience insight right at the heart of our business strategy.

“This new division will ensure that we assess new opportunities for innovation, development and acquisition through the lens of relevant, robust consumer data and through a realigned, agile organisational structure.

“Aksel’s experience in transformative management, his first-class understanding of both the linear and digital media landscapes, and his detailed knowledge of Turner’s international operation, all combine to make him a superb fit for this new role.”

Van der Wal joined Turner as CFO, EMEA in January 2014, as DTVE sister title TBI revealed at the time.

Turner parent Time Warner is currently in the process of selling to US telco AT&T in a US$85.4 billion deal.