Fremantle has restructured its senior ranks in Europe by creating two new regional CEO roles, with Benelux chief Georgette Schlick and Paramount Global’s Jaime Ondarza taking the positions.
Ondarza becomes CEO of Southern Europe with immediate effect and will be based out of Rome, with oversight of Fremantle’s production businesses in France, Israel (Abot Hameiri), Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Schlick, who was previously CEO for Fremantle in Netherlands and Belgium, is now CEO of Northern Europe and will oversee Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Poland, in addition to her previous remit.
The This Is Nice labels, which Fremantle acquired from Viaplay in 2021, will continue to be overseen by CEO Morten Mogensen, who now reports to Schlick. She, along with Ondarza, report into Andrea Scrosati, Fremantle Group COO and CEO Continental Europe.
While Schlick and Ondarza will work with regional CEO’s to lead the strategic direction across the continent, founder-led drama labels in the region – namely Miso Film in the Nordics and Italian trio Wildside, The Apartment Pictures and Lux Vide – will report to Christian Vesper.
The former Sundance exec was upped last week to become CEO of global drama, reporting into Scrosati, and with a remit that incoudes oversight of Fremantle’s roster of talent partnerships and deals.
Scrosati said the appointments would “future proof” its “rapid business expansion”, following a period of unprecedented M&A activity for the company.
It wrapped up 2022 by acquiring This England producer Passenger in December, while a month earlier it struck deals for America The Beautiful producer Wildstar Films, Israel’s Silvio Productions and 72 Films, whose output includes The Elon Musk Show.
The company has also recently taken stakes in UK-based Element Pictures (Normal People), Dancing Ledge (The Responder), Italian scripted production company Lux Vide (Devils, Leonardo), Fabel (Bosch) and Australian-American firm Eureka Productions (Parental Guidance).
The activity is part of Fremantle’s strategy to hit a €3bn ($3bn) annual revenue target by 2025, which was set by parent RTL Group last year.
Ondarza was most recently EVP of Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa and head of streaming in Southern EMEA and Latin America, working on the roll-out of streamer Paramount+ and FAST service Pluto TV.
He said: “I am incredibly excited to join Fremantle, a leading international content group that has always set the best standards in the industry; creating globally acclaimed formats and franchises, and great stories with an innovative and creative approach. Fremantle is the home for creative talents and I’m proud to join Andrea and the incredible Fremantle team.”
Schlick, who previously had stints as CEO at Dutch commercial broadcaster SBS Broadcasting, added: “I am very much looking forward working together with the Benelux, Nordic and Polish teams to achieve our ambition in being the place creatives want to call home.”