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Fremantle’s Frot-Coutaz joins YouTube

FremantleMedia CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz is leaving the RTL Group-owned production and distribution giant after over two decades with the company to join YouTube.

Cécile Frot-Coutaz

Cécile Frot-Coutaz

London-based Frot-Coutaz was appointed CEO of FremantleMedia in 2012, having previously been CEO of the company’s North American headquarters.

She will now join Google-owned YouTube as head of EMEA, working with Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, to spearhead the platform’s growth strategies across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In a memo to staff today Frot-Coutaz said: “I’ve always said that two things would need to be the case for me to consider leaving. First, and most importantly, Fremantle would need to be firing on all cylinders – brimming with creative excellence and unstoppable momentum. Second, it would take a unique challenge that offers me something completely new and different.

“Both of those conditions have been met, and it is therefore with a heavy heart but unshakeable confidence in the future that I have decided to leave Fremantle and open a new chapter in my professional life.”

Kyncl added: “Cécile comes with incredible experience in the media industry. Her leadership, guidance, strong network and deep industry understanding will be invaluable as we continue to strengthen our partnerships and grow our creator base throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”

The process of finding her successor has begun, the Got Talent and American Idol producer said, and she will remain in position until a replacement is found.

The exec’s career with FremantleMedia began prior to its rebrand after UK producer Pearson purchased the assets of Grundy Television and Frot-Coutaz was named corporate strategy executive for the newly created Pearson Television.

She then led the subsequent acquisition and integration of All-American Fremantle into the Pearson Television Group.

After a short stint in San Francisco creating online and interactive strategies for Pearson Television, Frot-Coutaz joined the North American headquarters of the newly rebranded FremantleMedia in LA.

There she served as executive VP of commercial and operations until her promotion to chief operating officer of production in 2002 and CEO in 2005. In 2012, she was appointed CEO of FremantleMedia following the departure of Tony Cohen.

FremantleMedia recently sold off its kids and family entertainment arm, while it has been stepping up its activities in scripted content in recent years, acquiring stakes in numerous production companies and producing shows such as American Gods, Hard Sun, The Young Pope and Deutschland 83.

Bert Habets, CEO of RTL Group, said: “I would like to thank Cécile for her extraordinary creative and commercial achievements at FremantleMedia. She has built FremantleMedia North America into the largest operation in FremantleMedia’s global network, serving also as executive producer of hit formats such as American Idol and America’s Got Talent.

“As CEO of FremantleMedia, she has successfully put creativity back in the centre of the company over the past six years. With its expanding slate of high-end drama series and iconic entertainment shows, FremantleMedia is strongly positioned to grow significantly in the future. I regret, but understand Cécile’s decision. All of us wish her the best in her future endeavours.”

Frot-Coutaz added: “FremantleMedia has been a lot more than my place of work for the past 23 years – it’s been the place I’ve called home. Decisions like this are never easy, but I know I leave behind a thriving, confident company with a terrific pipeline, dynamic global leadership, a supportive shareholder and, most importantly, a world-class team of creatives. I go on to explore new challenges safe in the knowledge that FremantleMedia’s best days lie ahead.”

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