Cecile Frot-Coutaz is Chief Executive Officer of FremantleMedia, one of the world’s largest international creators, producers and distributors of leading prime time entertainment, drama, and factual entertainment television programming. Owned by the RTL Group, FremantleMedia has a group turnover of over €1bn. It is a world leader in content production with more than 9,200 hours of programming a year produced across its international network of companies in 22 countries. The company also specialises in the extension of television entertainment brands through international distribution, licensing, sponsorship, gaming and branded entertainment.
Prior to her promotion, Cecile was CEO of FremantleMedia North America (FMNA), a role she held since 2005. In this position she managed all business and operational matters, oversaw production and legal affairs and explored strategic growth opportunities for FMNA, which currently produces some of the most innovative and successful event entertainment on television, including American Idol, America’s Got Talent and The X Factor USA. She also served as Executive Producer on these phenomenally successful programmes.
Born and raised in France, Cecile earned her MBA from the prestigious INSEAD, Paris in 1994. Following her recruitment to London by the Pearson Group, she developed successful business strategies for the company’s media holdings. When Pearson purchased the assets of Grundy Television, Cecile was named Corporate Strategy Executive for the newly created Pearson Television and then spearheaded the subsequent acquisition and integration of All-American Fremantle into The Pearson Television Group. In the process, she played a key role in transforming a local enterprise into one of the largest independent production companies in the world.
After a short stint in San Francisco creating online and interactive strategies for Pearson Television, Cecile joined the North American headquarters of the newly re-branded FremantleMedia in Los Angeles, where she served as Executive Vice President, Commercial and Operations until her promotion to COO of Production in 2002, and CEO in 2005.
Wolf Bauer, Chief Executive Officer of UFA, is one of Germany’s most prominent and respected television executives. He began his career in 1976 as a journalist for Kennzeichen D, a political tv show on Germany’s public broadcast channel ZDF, having studied Journalism and History of Art in Munich and Berlin.
In 1980, Bauer joined UFA GmbH, at that time the television production arm of Bertelsmann, as producer of TV movies, drama series and feature films. By 1991 he had risen to the helm of the company as Chairman of the UFA Gmbh Management Board, a role he has held ever since. After the merger of UFA and Pearson TV in 2000 he became a member of the FremantleMedia Operating Board.
Under his leadership, UFA expanded into a high-profile production company and market leader in Germany. UFA now creates and produces across a diverse range of programming from daily dramas, hit entertainment formats including German Idol and Farmer Wants a Wife to award-winning and record-rating feature films and transmedia content.
Key milestones in Bauer’s career include founding Grundy UFA (now UFA Serial Drama), a joint venture between UFA Film & TV Produktion and Grundy Worldwide, in 1991 with Australian Reginald Roy Grundy. The company went on to produce some of Germany’s longest running serial dramas including Good Times, Bad Times, Under One Roof and All or Nothing.
In 2009, he established UFA Lab, the digital production unit of UFA, which is known for its innovative transmedia storytelling. Recent successes include Dina Foxx: Deadly Contact, a scripted crime drama told across TV, web series, digital, gaming and social media, which this year won an International Digital Emmy Award for Fiction.
Bauer has overseen the teams that have created outstanding scripted successes including March of Millions, Dresden, Hindenburg, Generation War (Emmy Award 2014), Deutschland `83 and TV movies such as Naked among Wolves and The Minister. During his tenure UFA has also produced numerous feature films including the award-winning The Physician.
Bauer became a member of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2008.
Craig Cegielski and Jennifer Mullin are Co-Chief Executive Officers of FremantleMedia North America (FMNA). They are responsible for FMNA’s overall management and business performance, overseeing the development, production and business operations of over 600 hours of network, cable and syndicated programming.
Veteran television executive Craig Cegielski joined FMNA in June 2013 as Executive Vice President of Scripted Programming. Cegielski’s appointment launched the company’s scripted drive, and since joining, he has seen over a dozen projects into development. This includes FMNA’s first scripted series, The Returned, which launched on A&E in the US and on Netflix globally. The series opened as A&E’s most-watched and highest-rated new scripted series premiere since 2013.
Craig came to FMNA from Open Circle Entertainment, an independent television company, which he founded with producing partner Susan Gross. Previously, he was President of GK-tv, a division of Graham King’s GK Films. Recent productions included Camelot, for Starz and Continuum, for Shaw in Canada and Syfy in the US and UK. Prior to that, Cegielski was Executive Vice President, Programming & Sales for Lionsgate International Television. At Lionsgate, Cegielski was responsible for oversight of all international distribution and acquisitions, sales and marketing for the group’s comprehensive slate of programming, including Weeds, Mad Men and Crash.
Jennifer, formerly EVP, Current Programming, FMNA, has been at the helm of FMNA’s unscripted programming for nearly ten years, overseeing the company’s extensive slate. During this time, she has significantly grown FMNA’s presence in the game show and reality competition genres. Overseeing the game show franchises, The Price Is Right, Family Feud and Let’s Make A Deal, Mullin and her team have taken each of the series to record-breaking ratings highs across daytime and syndication. Building FMNA’s syndication pipeline, Mullin led the launch of the company’s newest entry, Celebrity Name Game. The fast-paced and funny game show was a success out of the gate, coming in as the second highest-rated new syndicated program in 2014 and subsequently renewed for a second season. The inaugural season also garnered an Emmy® for Craig Ferguson as Outstanding Game Show Host at the 2015 Daytime Emmy Awards.
Prior to joining FMNA in 2005, Mullin worked as an Exec Producer at companies such as Telepictures and Universal. She was the Supervising Producer on the FOX series Married By America. She also was the Supervising Producer on the syndicated series Rendez-View and Real TV for Paramount Domestic TV. In addition, she served as the Executive in Charge of Production for the long-running syndicated hit, A Current Affair.
Rob Clark is Director of Global Entertainment at FremantleMedia.
Rob is responsible for setting the international format development agenda and direction for all FremantleMedia companies, as well as the management of all global format acquisitions. He also chairs the company's Intellectual Property (IP) Leadership Group which co-ordinates all international entertainment format development around the FremantleMedia Group.
Prior to his current role, Rob was President of Worldwide Entertainment at FremantleMedia, having joined the division in 2003. He has managed a number of FremantleMedia’s most successful global roll-outs including Got Talent, The X Factor, The Farmer Wants a Wife, The Apprentice, Hole in the Wall, Let’s Dance, and Take Me Out, as well as the continued success and roll out of the Idols franchise. Rob has also helped in the re-launch of game shows including Family Feud, Password and The Price is Right.
Rob is a highly experienced producer, programme creator and writer across primetime, entertainment, reality and comedy genres. He has extensive experience in the UK television industry having previously been Head of Entertainment for Scottish Media Group and Princess Productions, as well as Executive and Senior Producer for London Weekend Television, Carlton, HatTrick and Celador. During his career, Rob has worked on many iconic and leading series including Don’t Try This At Home, Surprise Surprise, Popstars, Man O Man, The Likely Lads, Wheel of Fortune, Big Talent Show, Supermarket Sweep, Blind Date, and Beadles About. He also co-wrote and created the sitcom Barbara.
Sangeeta Desai is Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer, Emerging Markets at FremantleMedia.
Sangeeta Desai is FremantleMedia’s Chief Operating Officer and also its Chief Executive Officer of Emerging Markets.
As COO, she is responsible for the group’s operations across the 25+ territories in which Fremantle operates and oversees all investment activity across the group. Included in her remit are Strategy & M&A, Kids & Family Entertainment and central group functions. In early 2015, Sangeeta expanded her role to also become CEO of Emerging Markets with the responsibility of expanding FremantleMedia’s global presence through organic growth and strategic M&A, particularly in the emerging markets of Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Sangeeta previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer at HIT Entertainment where she managed the company’s day-to-day operations, including business development and global brand management, and had global responsibility for all key revenue functions of the company including TV, brands, consumer products, DVD, and live events/attractions. She also managed offices in London, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Prior to joining HIT Entertainment, she was a Principal at Apax Partners, a private equity firm, where she had responsibility for sourcing, evaluating and executing on investments, working with management teams in the media sector globally, with a particular focus on the entertainment and TV production sub-sectors. She has also held positions in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs and with J.P. Morgan.
Sangeeta has a BS with distinction from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA with Honours from the Wharton School of Business.
Nicky Gray is Director of Human Resources at FremantleMedia. Nicky was appointed Director of Human Resources in 2002 and is responsible for setting HR function strategy and ensuring its effective operation and execution throughout the FremantleMedia Group worldwide.
A key part of Nicky's role is to ensure the company attracts and retains talent by ensuring that it has the correct reward and development processes in place.
Prior to joining FremantleMedia, Nicky held senior HR positions for a variety of companies including Express Newspapers, Centrica Plc and Tate & Lyle Plc. During her time as Director of HR at Express Newspapers, Nicky ran the HR service for 1,000 employees and was a group board member.
Keith Hindle is CEO of Digital & Branded Entertainment at FremantleMedia, responsible for crafting and leading the company’s digital and branded entertainment strategy around the world.
Keith steers and oversees FremantleMedia’s growing multi-platform business worldwide, with functional responsibility for all digital, sponsorship, social media and YouTube activity, including the company’s original content channels, along with apps, second-screen extensions and online gaming. He works closely with digital and sponsorship teams in FremantleMedia’s local territories, and sits on the Operating Boards of FremantleMedia’s gaming company Ludia and its transmedia company @radical.media.
Keith was formerly CEO, Americas at FremantleMedia’s Enterprises arm. In this role, he developed, set and implemented a strategy for FremantleMedia Enterprises’ Americas businesses, which included operations in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Latin America and the Caribbean. Keith increased FremantleMedia’s position as a highly creative and successful rights exploitation company and oversaw distribution, home entertainment, brand integration, consumer products, new media and live events. He also led the major multi-platform sponsorship deals for FremantleMedia programmes including Ford, Coke and AT&T for American Idol, and Pepsi and Verizon with The X Factor. Prior to this, he worked at FremantleMedia in London and Germany where he managed international M&A activity, and he has also held positions at Time Warner, Unilever and Shell Oil.
Ian Hogg is CEO, Asia Pacific at FremantleMedia. Based in Sydney, he is responsible for the overall management and business performance of all of FremantleMedia’s production operations in Australia and Asia.
Ian has worked in the television industry for over 25 years within TV networks and independent production companies in Australia and Asia, and was appointed CEO of FremantleMedia Australia in September 2009 before being promoted to CEO, Asia Pacific in July 2011. He began his career at Network TEN in Brisbane in 1984 in programming and after four years moved to TEN Sydney as Assistant Program Manager. In 1990, he relocated to New Zealand to become Director of Programming at TV3. In 1993, Ian returned to Sydney to join independent production company RA Becker as Head of Television and in 1996 was appointed to the company’s Board as Group General Manager and Executive Director. Under his leadership, Becker became Australia’s largest independent television production, distribution and theatrical distribution company.
In 2001, Ian moved to Singapore to join sports marketing and rights management company World Sport Television as CEO. In 2003, he founded Theatre Red which became a leading television production, distribution and internet company in Asia. After selling the business, he returned to Australia in 2008, where he consulted to the Prime Media Group across its television and online assets, as well as acting Managing Director, Asia Pacific, MGM Worldwide Television, before joining FremantleMedia Australia.
Jens Richter is CEO of FremantleMedia International (FMI). He is responsible for overseeing the global distribution of FremantleMedia’s finished programming and home entertainment catalogue, comprising more than 20,000 hours of premium content from FremantleMedia’s in-house teams and the world’s foremost third party production partners, and sales teams that span the US, UK, EMEA, Asia and Australia.
Jens joined the business from Red Arrow where he was Group Director and MD of Red Arrow Entertainment Group (RAEG). He was instrumental in building RAEG into a global production and distribution group. He packaged, co-financed and facilitated Red Arrow’s UK and US scripted slate for the international market and was responsible for the global roll-out and brand management of Red Arrow’s format slate, including The Taste and Off Their Rockers, which became hits on US networks ABC and NBC respectively. Jens was also MD of Red Arrow International (RAI), a business he built from scratch and turned into an international distribution house, with offices in Los Angeles and Hong Kong. During his tenure, Jens built a catalogue of more than 500 titles across all major genres and was responsible for packaging and co-financing drama series, overall representation deals and extended the business into the digital space. He is credited with establishing an on-going co-production partnership between Red Arrow and Granada Australia.
Prior this, Jens served for four years as Managing Director for Beta Film, where he ran the Munich-based head office and local agencies across Japan, Latin America Spain and Italy. He directed all sales, marketing and content acquisition and deficit financing and co-financing, turning Beta Film into a distribution platform for third party producers.
Between 1999 and 2000, Jens was based in London as Senior Vice President for Prisma Sports & Media, where he sought to evaluate the commercial worth of sports properties, created new programming concepts around emerging digital infrastructures and created a new digital distribution business for sports and sports-related content around high profile sports events such as the Soccer World Cup and the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Jens began his media career as a Production Manager at advertising production house, Bliss, before joining the sales team at BetaFilm in 1994. He was responsible for the acquisition and distribution of programming of titles across all formats and genres, negotiating a number of multi-year and multi-territory deals across Europe, Asia and Latin America and increasing BetaFilm’s global footprint by expanding its sales operations to new markets.