European media giant Sky has appointed the head of YouTube in EMEA and former Fremantle chief Cécile Frot-Coutaz as CEO of Sky Studios.
Frot-Coutaz, who replaces current CEO Gary Davey, will oversee the funding, development, production and commissioning teams for scripted Sky originals and take charge of Sky Studios’ global portfolio of production companies.
These include Blast! Films, Jupiter Entertainment, True North and Love Productions, creator of the Great British Bake Off. Her remit also includes the upcoming launch of Sky Studios Elstree, the soon-to-launch film and TV studios that will house 13 sound stages, which is set to open next year.
Frot-Coutaz, who had been widely linked to the still-vacant CEO role at BBC Studios, takes up her new role in September and will report to Andrea Zappia, EVP & CEO of New Markets & Business.
She will work alongside the outgoing Davey during the transition, after he revealed in December that he would be retiring.
Dana Strong, Sky Group’s CEO, described Frot-Coutaz as “a global leader in content and entertainment” whose “bold vision and unique mix of experience” would take the company’s production, development and commissioning operation “to the next level of becoming a European production powerhouse.”
Strong added: “She is perfectly suited to lead Sky Studios as we ramp up our investment in original content and look ahead to cameras rolling at Sky Studios Elstree next year.”
Frot-Coutaz added: “Like the rest of the industry I have witnessed the launch of Sky Studios just over two years ago and have seen the ambition and speed by which the organisation has grown. I could not pass up the opportunity to lead the studio through its next phase of growth and look forward to getting started later this year.”
Sky’s studio expansion
The appointment marks another statement of intent for Sky, which launched its production and distribution arm in June 2019 following Comcast’s acquisition of the pay TV operator from 21st Century Fox.
Davey has led the Europe-wide development and production outfit since, which has been rapidly expanding its slate since launch with shows such as Petra, Gangs Of London, The Third Day, and I Hate Suzie.
TBI understands Frot-Coutaz will have the same reporting line as Davey, which includes chief content officer Jane Millichip, who recently had her remit extended across Europe, as well as COO Caroline Cooper.
Director of commissioning for drama is Gabriel Silver, comedy chief is Jon Mountague, Nils Hartmann leads on originals in Italy and Marcus Ammon is his German counterpart. Zai Bennett, MD of UK content, reports into Stephen van Rooyen, Sky Group’s EVP & CEO for UK & Europe, as does Italian content chief Nicola Maccanico and EVP of content in Germany, Elke Walthelm.