News of ITEL chief operating officer Andrew Macbean’s resignation from the distribution industry leaked out at April’s MIPTV. Although the decision was made public only recently, Macbean revealed his intent to pursue his aspiration of becoming an actor last September. Macbean will remain chief executive of ITEL and Cosgrove Hall Films until the end of July, and will be a consultant to Cosgrove thereafter. Ian Jones, who joined ITEL in January as sales director, was promoted to the vacated post, effective April 17. Before joining the London-based distributor, Jones was director of Cascade – the distribution arm of Scottish Television – which was launched in 1998.
As Macbean took his final bow, ITEL announced a deal with Discovery Germany for 40 hours of documentary programming. The deal includes 13 hours of science and adventure programming from Wall to Wall Television (Body Story, Into the Flames), eight hours of history and culture from BBC Timewatch (Allied to the Mafia, Lord of the Maya), as well as natural history projects from Survival (Mountain Gorilla) and Partridge (Basic Instinct).
The government’s decision to approve the proposed merger between Carlton and United, which recently bought out HBO’s shares in ITEL thereby strengthening its ownership of the international distributor, is expected by mid-June. ‘It’s always a disruptive time when companies are merging. It brings a lot of uncertainty,’ says Macbean. ‘But, within that context, the merits of both companies – Carlton International and ITEL – are certainly recognized by each company. We’re very much of a mind of what we both have to bring to the table and how we would like to merge them. We’re just waiting to get the go ahead from the government to sort it out, which I’ll hopefully be able to do before I leave.’