Tom Toumazis to Leave Reality Powerhouse Endemol

Endemol chief commercial officer is to step down after being appointed chief executive of European newspaper group Mecom.

LONDON - Endemol chief commercial officer and former Disney executive Tom Toumazis is leaving the global reality and drama producer to head European newspaper group Mecom as CEO, it was announced Tuesday.

Toumazis, who has almost thirty years experience in television and publishing, held senior positions at magazine group Emap before joining Disney in the early 1990s, where he built an international multi-window market for such shows as Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy.

In his new job, he will have the challenging job of transitioning a stable of newspapers into fully digital brands, while at the same time wrestling with a complex debt structure and the collapse in the classified advertising market that has hit many newspaper publishers.

“Mecom has an impressive European footprint which combines powerful national and local print media positions with rapidly growing online and new media operations," he said in a statement.

"It has considerable potential to develop its multi-media platforms and build strong digital revenues and I am excited to be given the opportunity to lead the company," he added.

A popular and savvy exec, Toumazis joined Endemol at the beginning of 2009, launching a slew of businesses including Endemol Worldwide Distribution, a sports operation and a significant expansion into scripted programming. Notably, he helped secure distribution rights to The Marriage Ref.

The departure from Endemol is understood to be amicable, according to insiders, who say the offer of running a FTSE 100 company was "just too good to pass up."

It is unclear whether Endemol chief executive Ynon Kreiz will replace Toumazis' role or use the opportunity to review the entertainment powerhouse's overall commercial structure.