ITV Studios Shake-Up: Viacom Hires Maria Kyriacou for Top Europe Post, John de Mol Departs

Maria Kyriacou, president, international at ITV Studios - P 2016
Courtesy of ITV Studios

As president for VIMN U.K., Northern and Eastern Europe, Kyriacou will oversee the company's networks and related businesses in 33 countries, while ITV Studios reorganizes.

Viacom International Media Networks has hired Maria Kyriacou as president of VIMN U.K., Northern and Eastern Europe, giving her oversight of all the company's media networks and related businesses in 33 European countries, including Britain's Channel 5.

Kyriacou, who has most recently served as president of international for ITV Studios, will report to David Lynn, president and CEO of VIMN.

ITV Studios, meanwhile, unveiled a reorganization, with The Voice and Big Brother creator John de Mol exiting.

"Maria has led the international expansion of ITV’s studios business, and her track record of growing international revenues from production, content licensing and distribution at both ITV and Disney means she is ideally equipped to head our operations managed out of the U.K.," Lynn said. "Her experience of acquiring, integrating and managing creative businesses and her deep knowledge of the international television market will add a valuable perspective to our fast-evolving U.K. operations, and I’m delighted to welcome her to the team. She will take the helm at an exciting time, with the merger to form ViacomCBS set to confirm us as one of the world’s most important content producers and providers and to open up new opportunities to license our brands, content and IP."

Said Kyriacou: "I am incredibly excited to be joining David and the team. With the strength and breadth of its brands and its extensive reach, VIMN is in a great place to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the dynamism of our industry. I’m looking forward to being part of this exciting future."

Kyriacou was appointed to her ITV role in 2010. She joined ITV Studios from the Walt Disney Company, where she was senior vp digital media distribution EMEA.     

Amid Kyriacou's departure, ITV Studios on Tuesday unveiled a reorganization of its international distribution and commercial business, which will take effect in January. With Kyriacou joining Viacom, ITV Studios COO David McGraynor "takes on increased responsibility with oversight across all Studios commercial operations," the company said. Sharjeel Suleman becomes CFO for ITV Studios.

ITV Studios said its reorganization would create three centers of excellence. They are the creative network, "which will boost creativity across unscripted format labels in ITV Studios to increase the potential of developing global hit shows," global entertainment, which brings together international unscripted format sales and exploitation across the group under one roof, and global distribution, which will focus on the international distribution of drama and the finished tape versions of all other ITV Studios programs.

The reorganization includes the departure of de Mol, whose Talpa Media ITV acquired in 2015 for $436 million. The Talpa brand will disappear, with Talpa businesses being folded into other parts of ITV Studios. 

"John De Mol has chosen not to exercise his option to extend the earn-out period for a further three years as part of the Talpa Media acquisition and has decided to focus on the further development of his company Talpa Network as of 2020," ITV Studios said. "He will continue to provide management services to Talpa Media until the end of April next year. ITV Studios has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with John De Mol since the acquisition of Talpa Media in 2015. We wish John well and look forward to continuing our partnership with him via the first-look agreement between John and ITV Studios in relation to future formats."