'X Factor' Producer Fremantle Hires Sangeeta Desai as COO, CFO

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The RTL Group's TV production giant brings in the former Hit Entertainment executive for the newly combined roles.

LONDON -- TV format producer giant FremantleMedia has hired Sangeeta Desai to assume a new combined role as the company's chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

A subsidiary of Germany's RTL Group, Fremantle is the banner behind such global formats as Idols, co-produced with 19 Productions in the U.S., and The X Factor, co-produced with Simon Cowell's Syco in the U.K.

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Under the new combined title, Desai will be responsible for the management of FremantleMedia operations including financial performance, legal and business affairs, IT, purchasing and procurement, and property.

Desai will be based in the company's London offices, reporting directly to FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz, and will sit on the company’s board of directors.

Desai formerly held the position of COO at children's entertainment giant HIT Entertainment, where she managed the company’s day-to-day operations, including business development and global brand management, and had global responsibility for revenue functions including TV, brands, consumer products, DVD, and live events and attractions. She also oversaw offices in London, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

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Frot-Coutaz said: "Sangeeta’s strategic vision and financial and operational know-how will be a formidable asset to FremantleMedia and I am delighted to welcome her to the management team.”

Desai said joining FremantleMedia "presents an exciting opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading entertainment brands and industry figures."

She added: "I am very much looking forward to taking on the responsibility and challenges of overseeing the operations and financial performance of this global entertainment company."