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, UFA Film & TV Produktion, studied Journalism and History of Art at the universities of Munich and Berlin (graduating with MA Honours). He initially began working from 1976 as a political features writer for the ZDF programme ‘Kennzeichen D’.
In 1980, Wolf Bauer came to UFA Film-und Fernsehproduktion as an editor and producer and has served as executive producer and CEO for UFA Film & TV Produktion since 1991. Since the founding of FremantleMedia in 2000, he has also sat on the board of this globally active production company. FremantleMedia is the international production arm of the RTL Group which also includes UFA.
Under Wolf's leadership, UFA has developed into a highly efficient production group with eight subsidiaries which have continuously expanded their leading market position as creator of content in Germany in recent years. These include Grundy UFA, Europe's largest producer of daily dramas, and teamWorx, Germany´s leading producer of quality TV movies. The Group has been able to increase its turnover by more than 30 times between 1991 and the present day.
Wolf Bauer has produced over 80 TV movies since 1980, eight feature films, and has been a producer responsible for the launch of over 20 series.
Thom Beers is Chief Executive Officer of FremantleMedia North America (FMNA). He is 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. He is also Chairman of FremantleMedia-owned company Original Productions.
Before joining FMNA, Thom Beers was CEO and Executive Producer at Original Productions, which he founded. He has an extensive background as both a television executive and producer, and his creative vision placed Original Productions at the forefront of the industry. Original has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including six Primetime Emmy Awards and 24 Emmy nominations, and its everyday hero programming has brought millions of new viewers to a range of US networks including Discovery, History and The National Geographic Channel. Under Thom’s leadership, Original Productions has created a string of run-away ratings hits including Deadliest Catch, Black Gold, Ax Men, Monster Garage, 1,000 Ways to Die, Storage Wars, Ice Road Truckers, and Bering Sea Gold.
Prior to founding Original Productions, Thom served as a Production Executive and Series & Specials Producer for 11 years at Turner Broadcasting, later holding a similar position at Paramount syndicated television in Los Angeles. As Vice President/Supervising Producer for Turner Original Productions, his responsibilities encompassed supervising original programming for TBS Superstation, including the award-winning series National Geographic Explorer, Network Earth and the Jacques Cousteau Specials. Thom was also one of the creators and supervising producer of the animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers and prior to that served as Vice President of Development for TBS Productions. While at Paramount, he was the Series Producer for the hit syndicated wildlife series Wild Things for Paramount Television.
Rob Clark is Director of Global Entertainment Development 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 and Enterprises 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 Financial Officer of FremantleMedia. She is responsible for management of the company’s operations in its corporate centre, including financial performance, legal and business affairs, IT, purchasing and procurement, and property.
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 revenue functions 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 graduated with distinction from the University of California, Berkeley with a BS in Business Administration. She holds an MBA with Honours from the Wharton School of Business.
David Ellender is Chief Executive Officer of FremantleMedia International & Kids, a global division focused on international distribution and Kids & Family Entertainment.
David is responsible for an inventory of over 20,000 hours of world-class programming across all genres, distributed to broadcast and new media platforms in more than 150 countries. This diverse and rapidly-growing portfolio incorporates some of the world’s most successful drama, entertainment, lifestyle, factual and comedy series, including The X Factor, American Idol, Got Talent, Merlin, The Apprentice, Jamie Oliver, Project Runway, The Martha Stewart Show, Battleground and Hit And Miss.
He is also responsible for Kids & Family Entertainment, a FremantleMedia division he helped found and build in 2009, which has quickly become one of the most prolific independent producers and distributors of content in the sector today. With a portfolio spanning four key genres – preschool, kids comedy, action/adventure and tween/teen – Kids & Family Entertainment brings networks around the world innovative shows for television and new media platforms in live-action, 2D animation, CGI, stop-motion, puppetry and real-time animation.
David was previously CEO of FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME), having been appointed to the role in 2006. Under his leadership, FME grew to become firmly established as a leading global powerhouse in distribution, licensing, home entertainment and brand extensions, with regional hubs in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.
Before joining FremantleMedia in 2001, David held a number of senior posts within leading media corporations, including his role as Managing Director, Europe at Universal Studios Television Distribution where he was responsible for developing long-term strategy for the European pay & free TV distribution business. He also directed the integration of PolyGram TV International into Universal, to create a new European-wide structure. As President of PolyGram TV International, David built and managed the company’s global TV sales team and implemented PolyGram’s Children’s TV Production and Distribution strategy.
David has also been worldwide Head of Video & Television Sales for Virgin Vision, Commissioning Editor of BSB’s UK music channel The Power Station, and Director of International Sales, Europe for Viacom International.
Sara Geater is Chief Executive Officer of FremantleMedia UK, one of the UK’s most successful production companies encompassing a group of labels including Boundless, Retort, Talkback, Thames and a digital division, FremantleMedia UK Interactive. Sara was promoted to this role in October 2010.
Sara joined FremantleMedia UK (formerly talkbackTHAMES) as Chief Operating Officer in March 2007. Prior to this Sara had been Head of Commercial Affairs at Channel 4 since April 2004. Before this Sara, held the post of Director of Rights and Business Affairs at the BBC where she negotiated the first Codes of Practice between the BBC and the Independent Sector.
During her time as Head of Film & TV at Avalon and before this, as Head of Production at HAL/Miramax Films (credits include Mansfield Park, Birthday Girl and Elephant Juice), Sara also built up solid experience of the independent sector.
Sara’s television career began in drama production as a Production Accountant at LWT. She went on to work in the independent sector as a Line Producer where credits include Time Gentlemen Please, The Dawning and as a Producer on Business as Usual for Canon Films. Following this Sara joined Channel 4 as a Drama Co-Production Executive where she oversaw 150 films including Train Spotting, Shallow Grave and drama series including GBH and Politician’s Wife.
Sara is a barrister, holds a private pilot's licence and is a Fellow of the RSA.
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.