James Murdoch named Sky chairman

Nicholas Ferguson (pictured), chairman and director of UK pay-TV firm Sky, is stepping down after 12 years in the role, with James Murdoch set to replace him.
January 29, 2016

Nicholas Ferguson (pictured), chairman and director of UK pay-TV firm Sky, is stepping down after 12 years in the role, with James Murdoch set to replace him.

Ferguson first joined the board in 2004 as a non-executive director before rising to the rank of chairman in 2012, during which he led the board through the transaction that brought Sky’s businesses together across Europe.

“We have completed major international acquisitions in Germany and Italy; they are running to plan and we have first-class management in place,” said Ferguson in a statement. “Sky continues to grow impressively, to innovate with wonderful products and to serve its customers to the highest standard. So now is the right time for me to step back.”

The move comes four years after Murdoch, the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, resigned as chairman of what was previously known as BSkyB in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal.

In 2014, BSkyB acquired sister broadcasters Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland in a £7 billion ($US9.96 billion) deal, and was eventually renamed Sky.

Meanwhile, former Sky senior independent director Martin Gilbert has been named deputy chairman. Andrew Sukawaty will step into Gilbert’s vacated role.

Elsewhere, Sky Vision, the distribution and production arm of the UK broadcaster, has inked an exclusive two-year development deal with Cardiff-headquartered fact-ent prodco Avanti Media.

Under the deal, Sky Vision will exclusively distribute Avanti’s series and formats to the international market, beginning with documentaries Frozen Christmas (1 x 60 minutes), providing insight into the world of extreme ice sculpting; and the tentatively titled Beijing Billionaires (1 x 60 minutes), offering access into China’s rich elite as they expand their businesses.

Both films were originally produced for UK pubcaster Channel 4.

(Photo courtesy of The Sunday Times)

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.