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UFA Serial Drama chief exiting after 20 years

Scripted-logo-460_2Rainer WemckenRainer Wemcken will step down as CEO of UFA Serial Drama after 20 years running the prodco.

UFA Fiction boss Markus Brunnemann will take over as co-chief executive alongside Joachim Kosack, who has already been running the unit with Wemcken, on January 1, 2017. Brunnemann will also keep control of the fiction division.

There have been a series of changes at FremantleMedia-owned UFA, with Nico Hofman set to become sole company CEO in 2017 when co-chief Wolf Bauer steps back from the Deutschland 83 producer.

Elsewhere, Former UFA Serial Drama deputy chief exec Thorsten Degen was recently upped to CFO of the parent company to replace the outgoing Martin Licher.

Wemcken (pictured) will remain “close ties” with UFA (fka GrundyUFA) after his departure. He is credited with producing more than 20,000 episodes of daily soaps, telenovelas, weekly series and serialised dramas since joining as managing director and producer in 1997.

He said he wanted to “to focus more on individual projects” and had realised he had “no time to develop” in his CEO post. “It will be a truly emotional departure for me, because I’m not just leaving UFA Serial Drama, but also colleagues and associates with whom I enjoy – and will continue to nurture – very cordial relations,” he added.

He said new co-chief Brunnemann was “a series producer to the core, and the commitment to light fiction he has demonstrated over the past few months leaves me in no doubt that he and Joachim Kosack will maintain UFA Serial Drama’s success”.

“I’m extremely grateful to Rainer Wemcken, who can take much of the credit for UFA’s success,” said UFA co-CEO Bauer. “Under his leadership, UFA Serial Drama has grown enormously, and he and his team have succeeded in making UFA Serial Drama a company which, even today, continues to set new benchmarks in its business domain.

“This is all the more reason why I hope that UFA will continue to benefit from Rainer Wemcken’s know-how and extraordinary commitment even after his departure.”

The incoming Brunneman has been with UFA Fiction since 2013. Before that, he was managing partner of Phoenix Film, which has been part of UFA since 2002.

He is credited with developing international scripted format Danni Lowinski and Edel & Starck, plus popular German series such as Sat.1’s Verliebt in Berlin and ZDF’s Die Diplomatin, which is heading into a second season this year.

“For Nico Hofmann and myself, bringing in Markus Brunnemann and Joachim Kosack as Rainer Wemcken’s joint successors is an ideal solution. Both men are among the most experienced producers of series and daily soaps and are therefore optimally suited to leading UFA Serial Drama to a successful future.”