Bavaria's Schaumann joins Premiere


COLOGNE, Germany -- Thorsten Schaumann, co-head of German sales giant Bavaria Film International (BFI) is leaving the company to join the acquisitions department of leading German pay TV group Premiere.

Schaumann's exit on March 31 will leave Thorsten Ritter as sole head of Bavaria Film International. In his new post, Schaumann will report to Premiere's programming head Hans Seger.

Schaumann's new appointment comes as Premiere is undergoing a major shift in its shareholder structure. In January, News Corp. took a 14.6% stake in Premiere, making it the company's largest single shareholder. On Monday, U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley boosted its stake in Premiere from 4.82% to 5.46%.

Schaumann was part of Bavaria's founding team when the world sales group launched in 1997. He and Ritter took over as co-heads of Bavaria Film International in 2005 after managing director Michael Weber left to set up his own company, the Match Factory.

"I'll be missing Thorsten. In addition to his experience in overseeing sales, he also had a good instinct in acquisitions. My team and I will continue our mutual way and set some new priorities at the same time," said Thorsten Ritter, who will continue to be backed by long-time Bavaria colleagues Stefanie Zeitler as head of sales and head of marketing Sebastian Kiesmueller.