Ziad Kebbi says it was his departure from Sony Pictures Television Arabia, which both sides describe as “amicable”, that triggered the US studio’s decision to pull back from production in the Middle East.
Yesterday, TBI broke the news Kebbi was leaving his role as president of SPT Arabia after four years. Sources close to Sony had indicated his exit was the result of a restructure affecting operations in Dubai, Lebanon and Cairo.
However, Kebbi has now told TBI the restructure was due to him deciding to exit. “My departure was my decision. I wasn’t happy [at SPT] so I decided to leave. It was amicable, and they could have kept the business going by replacing me.”
Sony has also been keen to stress the departure was agreed as the best course of action by both sides following a series of talks.
SPT Arabia’s remaining staff across its three bases are currently in consultation with SPT over their futures following the decision to scale back production in the Middle East.
Kebbi declined to comment on his next role. He has been linked with Talpa Media, which holds the rights to The Voice, the MBC show he executive produces in the Middle East for SPT Arabia.
SPT has said it remains in talks with Talpa over the The Voice of Arabia.
Former Endemol Middle East boss Kebbi launched SPT Arabia with Sony in 2010.