Banijay reveals UK restructure, with Endemol Shine’s Richard Johnston exiting

Peter Salmon

Banijay has restructured its operations in the UK, with Peter Salmon and Lucinda Hicks taking up new roles and Endemol Shine UK CEO Richard Johnston leaving the company.

The revised team will see Salmon, the former Endemol Shine Group (ESG) chief creative officer, leading Banijay UK as executive chairman, with former ESG’s UK chief operating officer Hicks taking up the post of CEO and reporting into the former BBC Studios exec.

Salmon will oversee creative for Banijay’s 25 unscripted and scripted UK production labels, while Hicks will run day-to-day operations.

Banijay, which completed its $2.2bn acquisition of ESG earlier this year, said the pair would “work in unison to devise and implement the country’s integration plans” in order to combine the two company’s operations by the end of 2020.

Johnston, who was CEO of Endemol Shine UK, will leave the business as a result of the restructure. He was appointed CEO in January 2015 having overseen the merger of the Endemol and Shine companies in the UK, and more recently focused on expanding ESG’s scripted efforts in the UK.

Salmon joined ESG following a short tenure at BBCS in 2016 to replace the outgoing Endemol Shine president Tim Hincks and has previously worked at the BBC, Channel 4, Granada TV and The Television Corporation.

Hicks was appointed COO of Endemol Shine UK in 2015 and before that was joint MD at Dragonfly. She has previously had stints at Shine Group, Channel 4, FremantleMedia and the BBC.

Lucinda Hicks

From Grantchester to The Island

Salmon and Hicks’ remit extends across all genres, ranging from hit formats such as Big Brother and MasterChef, to dramas including Young Wallander and Grantchester, to fact ent shows including Ambulance and kids offerings including Mr Bean.

Around 30 production firms fall under the UK umbrella, including Dragonfly, DSP (Darlow Smithson Productions), BlackLight, Kudos, RDF Television, Remarkable TV, Tiger Aspect, Shine TV, Remarkable TV and Zeppotron.

Others include: Cut & Mustard, Definitely, Douglas Road, Electric Robin, Fearless Minds, Fizz, Initial, IWC Media, Neon Ink, OP Talent, RDF Television, RDF West, Sharp Jack, Shiny Button, Sidney Street, Simon’s Cat, The Comedy Unit, The Natural Studios, Wild Mercury, Wonder, Workerbee and Yellow Bird UK.

Marco Bassetti, Banijay CEO, said: “The UK is now one of our biggest markets, with a plethora of multi-genre labels and an incredible catalogue that has travelled the globe. With this scale we needed robust leadership, which spanned both the creative narrative of the group, as well as the operational one.

“Already heavily engaged in the country’s business and tapped into much of its network, Peter and Lucinda were in a prime position to take the group through the next stage of its journey. Brimming with IP and some of the best minds in the business, I’ve no doubt Banijay UK, with them at the helm, will continue to be at the epicentre of devising original and innovative brands, which get the world talking. I’ll finish by thanking Richard for his incredible dedication, commendable service and significant hard work in putting the UK group and its labels in such great health.”

Salmon added: “It’s a great moment to land one of the biggest production jobs in the world. Having worked across our UK slate from a global perspective for nearly five years, I know how exciting the shows and producers are.

“In Lucinda Hicks I also have a terrific partner – bright, hard-working and a lot of fun. Together, we are dedicated to building an inclusive and ambitious operation, where our teams have the support, direction and leadership they need but also the autonomy and freedom necessary to deliver the best ideas on the planet.”

Hicks said: “I look forward to working with Peter to build a combined creative portfolio renowned for its standout, world-class titles, driving innovation and originality and being at the forefront of positive change in the industry.”

UK piece of global jigsaw

Salmon’s appointment atop of Banijay UK is the latest development as the French production giant rapidly implements its senior management teams around the world.

Last week, Marcus Wolter was appointed CEO in Germany while the company also recently unveiled its management team in Iberia and Italy.

On the corporate level, TBI revealed in July that Wim Ponnet, Endemol Shine’s chief strategy & commercial officer, would be leaving the company, while international operations chief Nicola Bamford is also departing. ESG CEO Sophie Turner-Laing has also left the company, as expected.

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