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A+E Networks UK poaches RTL exec for COO post

Dean Possenniskie’s first major move since taking over at A+E Networks UK is the appointment of a COO and the promotion of Heather Jones to senior VP, content and creative.

Nicolas EglauPossenniskie replaced Tom Davidson as managing director for the A+E Networks business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa last month, and has now named RTL Netherlands executive Nicolas Eglau (pictured) as its first chief operating officer.

Jones, meanwhile, now adds the new SVP post to her roles after being promoted to general manager of the UK in February. She now oversees all creative A+E UK units, including programming, marketing, creative, digital and communications.

Both executives report into Possenniskie, who now has his own hand-picked, top-level management team. A+E UK currently operates 18 channels across the EMEA region.

Eglau is credited with building RTL Netherlands’ cable TV business, managing channels including RTL Lounge, RTL Crime and RTL Tekekids, and he also oversaw a number of digital start-up ventures. He was most recently RTL Netherlands’ MD, ventures, and has spent five years as a member of its management board.

Beginning at A+E on September 1, he will manage the A+E UK operating and commercial units, including strategy, sales and distribution in the UK and other territories. He will also be general manager of the Nordic, Benelux and CEEMEA regions, overseeing offices in Copenhagen, Warsaw and Johannesburg.

Heather Jones 2015Before RTL Netherlands, he was a VP at the wider RTL Group, during which time he worked on M&A initiatives and was seconded to London to oversee the acquisition of Channel 5 from business-to-business news publisher UBM back in 2005.

He said there were “growth opportunities” in the UK and other operating territories at A+E, which has been consolidating its international joint ventures businesses over the past 12 months. A+E UK remains a joint venture between Disney- and Hearst Corp.-owned A+E and European satcaster Sky.

Jones (right), meanwhile, has been with A+E UK for two years after joining following a spell at All3Media-owned producer North One Television. Prior to that she was director of television at Viacom UK.

The two appointments come after the hires of BBC Worldwide’s Amanda Hill as chief creative officer, international, and former Discovery and TLC exec Edward Sabin as MD, Americas and head of commercial operations, international.

“The A+E Networks UK brand portfolio has seen rapid expansion over the past 5 years, both within and outside the UK,” said Posseniskie. “As we continue to drive growth of our brands and business, we looked for strong leaders to develop and execute strategy.”