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Banijay makes Houlind Nordic chief

European production giant Banijay has appointed Jacob Houlind to lead its newly enlarged business in the Nordics, with Endemol Shine exec Karin Stjärne departing.

Jacob Houlind

Houlind has been named CEO of Banijay Nordic, a group that now includes 24 companies across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, as well as the UK and US following the recent expansion of Yellow Bird.

Houlind has been group CEO and co-owner of Nordisk Film TV since February 2006, selling the company to Banijay in 2009. He later took up the position of group CEO of Banijay Nordic as a result of the merger of former Nordisk Film TV in the Nordics and Zodiak Media.

Stjärne will leave the business on August 31, having been CEO of Endemol Shine Nordics since 2017.

In that role, she increased international format sales, secured a number of new titles including Family Food Fight, The Wall, The Heist and Lego Masters, and drove a number of returners such as Biggest Loser and Big Brother. Working with Norwegian label Rubicon, she supported the first sale of an original Norwegian drama, Beforeigners, to HBO Nordic.

Following the completion of Banijay’s US$2.2bn takeover of Endemol Shine in July, the Nordics business now includes Norwegian outfits Mastiff, Nordisk Film & TV, Rubicon and Screen Media.

In Sweden, its production outlets include Meter, Jarowskij, Filmlance, YellowBird, STO-CPH, Factory and MAG5.

In Finland, the group has Banijay Finland, EndemolShine Finland and Zodiak Finland, while the Danish business includes Metronome, Pineapple Entertainment, Banijay Nordic Mobile and Respirator.

Between them, they are responsible for local productions including Survivor, The Island, Fort Boyard, MasterChef, All Against 1, Best Singer, Big Brother, Luxury Trap, Biggest Loser, 71 Degrees North, The Wall, Paradise Hotel, All Together Now, Millennium, The Bridge, Wallander and Netflix’s upcoming Young Wallander, Khalifate, Beck, The Restaurant and Sandham Murders.

Today’s news follows similar announcements about Banijay’s management structure in FranceIberia, ItalyBenelux, Germany and the UK, while Cathy Payne is overseeing the merger of the Banijay and ESG distribution operations.

Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti said: “Jacob has long been a part of Banijay’s journey. An entrepreneur with a strong creative eye, he is an admirable leader, commercially astute and the best pair of hands to oversee what will be an even more significant region for us moving forwards.”

Houlind added: “Banijay Nordic has long been the home of some of the region’s strongest talent and I am honoured to be welcoming a host of new creative entrepreneurs into the fold. Combining the strengths of both groups and continuing a multi-brand strategy with a strong focus on creativity, I hope Banijay Nordic will long continue to be a renowned home for the best creatives in the region, on and off screen, and a home for IP that travels the world.”

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