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MFE names NBCU veteran to oversee German expansion

Katharina Behrends

MediaForEurope (MFE), the pan-European group formerly known as Mediaset, has announced the hire of a former NBCUniversal exec to oversee its growing business in Germany.

Katharina Behrends will join as general manager for DACH on October 1. She will be responsible for overseeing MFE’s corporate engagement and activities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and will work closely with and report to the MFE executive board. One of her primary tasks will be to expand MFE’s presence in the region and open a German office in Munich. 

Behrends joins having spent the past 15 years in a variety of leadership positions at NBC Universal Networks including as managing director of global networks and previously as managing director for Central and Eastern Europe. She is credited as playing a pivotal role in successfully establishing the pay TV business model in the German-speaking region and other parts of Europe

Of her new role, Behrends said: “MFE is an exciting, forward-thinking media company, and I am thrilled to join at such a critical point in time for the European media industry. European media companies need to collaborate more closely and develop strategies to stay competitive with international media conglomerates and streaming giants. 

I am committed to supporting MFE to grow its presence in the German-speaking region through constructive dialogue with partners and stakeholders. Together, we will create the European answer to increasing international competition in the media industry. We will develop innovative business models that secure long-term success, growth, and future expansion”.

Marco Giordani, CFO of MFE, said: “We are pleased to welcome Katharina Behrends to our executive team, she is an experienced and internationally-respected leader. With her strong network and excellent knowledge of the German-speaking and European media industry, she will play a vital role in building a pan-European media group. 

“Our goal is to further expand and establish MFE as a leading European media player. We significantly invest in local content guaranteeing the editorial independence and cultural diversity of national content and a practice of editorial independence of each country, as the case of Mediaset España of the MFE Group has shown for over 30 years”

MFE has been a long-term major shareholder in ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, with reports earlier this year linking MFE to a potential takeover of the German broadcaster in the future. MFE is also said to be among the interested parties for M6 Group, after the Bertelsmann-owned broadcaster’s merger with TF1 fell apart last week.

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