Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia, is leaving the company after 23 years, and moving to YouTube.
In a statement, RTL Group confirmed Frot-Coutaz’s departure, saying the company is working with her to ensure a smooth transition and that the process to select a new CEO has been initiated.
Frot-Coutaz is joining YouTube to head up its operations for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), working with chief business officer Robert Kyncl to grow the company in the region.
“Cécile comes with incredible experience in the media industry,” said Kyncl in a statement regarding her appointment. “Her leadership, guidance, strong network and deep industry understanding will be invaluable as we continue to strengthen our partnerships and grow our creator base throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”
She leaves behind FremantleMedia following the global producer-distributor’s reboot of American Idol on U.S. broadcaster ABC. The company has also recently taken stakes in several emerging production companies, including U.K.-based, recent RTS Award winners Label1, the prodco behind the non-fiction hit Hospital on the BBC.
“FremantleMedia has been a lot more than my place of work for the past 23 years – it’s been the place I’ve called home,” said Frot-Coutaz in the statement. “Decisions like this are never easy, but I know I leave behind a thriving, confident company with a terrific pipeline, dynamic global leadership, a supportive shareholder and, most importantly, a world-class team of creatives. I go on to explore new challenges safe in the knowledge that FremantleMedia’s best days lie ahead.”
Bert Habets, CEO of RTL Group, said of Frot-Coutaz: “She has built FremantleMedia North America into the largest operation in FremantleMedia’s global network, serving also as executive producer of hit formats such as American Idol and America’s Got Talent. As CEO of FremantleMedia, she has successfully put creativity back in the centre of the company over the past six years. With its expanding slate of high-end drama series and iconic entertainment shows, FremantleMedia is strongly positioned to grow significantly in the future. I regret, but understand Cécile’s decision. All of us wish her the best in her future endeavors.”
Regarding her move to YouTube, in the statement announcing her hiring from the global streaming platform, Frot-Coutaz said: “YouTube is the voice of a generation and has become an integral part of the world’s cultural conversation. The opportunity to be part of that conversation and to work with Robert, his team and the wider Google community was too good to turn down.
“I will miss FremantleMedia enormously – it’s a global creative powerhouse at the top of its game, and I will continue to watch with pride as a devoted fan,” she added.