Former BSkyB MD of content Sophie Turner Laing has been named as the CEO of the joint venture that will result from the merger of Shine, Endemol and Core Media, the companies confirmed Sunday.
Turner Laing, who departed from BSkyB in May, will head up what is being touted as the world’s largest independent television production group. Alex Mahon, current chief executive at Shine Group, and Just Spee, current chief executive at Endemol, are expected to stay on with their respective companies until the merger is complete, pending regulatory approval.
“Pending the parties finalizing 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,” confirmed a spokesperson for 21st Century Fox and Apollo Global Management to Realscreen on Sunday via a statement.
“Just Spee, the current Endemol CEO, and Alex Mahon, CEO of Shine Group, would remain with their respective companies following the close of the transaction, working with Ms. Laing on the transition and integration of the business operations,” the statement continued.
“There can be no assurance that the proposed transaction will be finalized or completed.”
Core Media Group president Marc Graboff’s departure from the company was announced in early September.
21st Century Fox, which owns Shine Group, and Apollo Global Management, the private equity firm which controls Endemol and Core Media Group, first confirmed the news to the UK media on Sunday afternoon.
Turner Laing joined BSkyB in 2003 after working in a number of senior roles for the BBC, including acting director of television. She was responsible for its portfolio of entertainment, movie and news channels as well as its studios and production services.
She has been credited with helping facilitate the launch of Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts, as well as a partnership with HBO and Sky’s increased original British production.
The Shine/Endemol/Core Media Group joint venture plan was first announced by 21st Century Fox in mid-May, days before Turner Laing’s departure from BSkyB was revealed.
The joint venture will have several of unscripted television’s top franchises under its production umbrella, including American Idol (which Core Media’s 19 Entertainment coproduces with FremantleMedia North America), MasterChef, and Big Brother.
(With files from Manori Ravindran)