Former BSkyB content boss Sophie Turner Laing has landed what is perhaps the biggest job in global production.
She will be CEO of the merged Endemol, Shine Group and Core Media Group TV production giant, which is set to launch as a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and Apollo Global Management.
“Pending the parties finalising an agreement to form a joint venture comprised of Endemol, Shine Group and Core Media Group the venture partners today confirmed that Sophie Turner Laing, former managing director of content at BSkyB, would become the new venture’s CEO,” said a 21st Century Fox spokesperson.
Her appointment means Endemol CEO Just Spee and Shine’s chief Alex Mahon will exit the company once the merger is complete and the business correctly structured. Both will stay on for a transitional period as operations are integrated. The future of Endemol president Tim Hincks is unclear at this stage.
Core’s boss Marc Graboff has already announced his intention to exit once plans are finalised.
Insiders had this summer tipped Turner Laing to land the post, with sources noting her links to Fox through its controlling stake in UK satcaster Sky as significant.
At Sky, she is credited with overseeing a massive commissioning increase, and the launch of networks such as premium programming channel Sky Atlantic. She left in May this year.
Her new role will hand her control of a group that counts Big Brother, MasterChef and American Idol among its format assets. It will also have a major drama production business with Shine’s UK and US producers combining with Endemol’s LA-based Endemol Studios.
The size of the group has caused concerns in the UK, where Channel 4 CEO has warned it would have a dominant market cap and BBC director of television Danny Cohen has pushed for changes to terms of trade in the light of its announcement.
The merger is also the latest in a series of major mergers and acquisition deals in the production sector. Last week, Discovery Communications and Liberty Global completed their joint venture takeover of All3Media, while Viacom recently bought Channel 5.