Ex-BSkyB Exec Named CEO of Combined Endemol-Shine-Core Media

Courtesy of BSkyB
Sophie Turner Laing

21st Century Fox and Apollo Global have been working on finalizing the three-way combination

Former BSkyB content executive Sophie Turner Laing will lead the company to be formed by the combination of 21st Century Fox's Shine Group, Endemol and Core Media as CEO, the companies said Sunday.

The former managing director of content for U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB will lead what will be the world’s largest independent TV producer.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and investment firm Apollo Global Management, which controls Endemol and Core, have appointed the well-connected executive, the source confirmed a report by the Financial Times.

Read More Marc Graboff Exits Core Media Group as Endemol North America Executives Take Charge

Endemol has been run by CEO Just Spee, while Shine's CEO is Alex Mahon. Her chair is Murdoch daughter Elisabeth Murdoch. Spee and Mahon will remain on board during a transition period. Murdoch's potential role at the combined company wasn't immediately clear.

“Pending the parties finalizing an agreement to form a joint venture comprised of Endemol, Shine Group and Core Media Group, the venture partners, today confirmed that Sophie Turner Laing, former managing director of content at BSkyB, would become the new venture’s CEO," the companies said in a statement.

It added: “Just Spee, the current Endemol CEO, and Alex Mahon, CEO of Shine Group, would remain with their respective companies following the close of the transaction, working with Ms. Laing on the transition and integration of the business operations.
“There can be no assurance that the proposed transaction will be finalized or completed.”

Turner Laing earlier this year resigned from BSkyB after 11 years at the company, in which Fox owns a 39 percent stake.

Turner Laing joined BSkyB in March 2003 from the BBC, where she held a number of senior roles, including acting director of television.
As content chief, she was responsible for BSkyB's portfolio of entertainment, movie and news channels, as well as its studios and production services. She also oversaw the international distribution of shows.

She led the expansion of the firm's portfolio of entertainment channels, with the launch of Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts, and its increased commitment to original British production.

Fox COO Chase Carey recently said he hoped to wrap up the three-way deal in the near future.

Mahon at a recent conference said that consolidation in the TV production space made sense amid a trend toward more deficit-launched shows. With a big company like Fox as its owner, Shine "can take the deficit," she said. "We wouldn't have had that chance before."

In similar deals for TV producers, Liberty Global and Discovery Communications recently acquired U.K. production firm All3Media, and U.K. TV network giant ITV has continued to acquire U.S. production firms.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai