Cathy Payne upped at Endemol

To head combined Endemol/Southern Star distribution biz

LONDON – Global entertainment producer Endemol said Tuesday it has upped Southern Star International CEO Cathy Payne to run the combined program distribution businesses following its acquisition of Australian producer Southern Star in January.

The move will see Endemol exec Caroline Torrance, who has overseen global distribution for Endemol for three years, step down this fall.

Reporting to chief commercial officer Tom Toumazis, Payne will relocate to London where she will oversee sales and distributions of such shows as "Wipeout," "Big Brother" and "Deal or No Deal."

Payne, who oversaw the sale of such shows as "Home and Away" for Southern Star, joined as chief executive in 2000 and has grown the business to be a major distributor of English language programming.

Endemol's Toumazis said Payne's knowledge of the sector was "second to none."

"She has built a tremendous business over the last 10 years and has an exceptional knowledge and understanding of the major TV markets around the world. I couldn't think of anyone better qualified to run our distribution business."

Torrance, Endemol's executive director of scripted programming and distribution since 2006, said the merger of the two companies felt like "the right time to move on."

"I have had the pleasure of working in a great company and with a wonderful group of people. I'll miss them all but I know the distribution operation couldn't be in better hands," she said.