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NBCU to merge domestic, int’l arms

NBCUniversal (NBCU) will merge its domestic and international divisions following the decision by Kevin MacLellan, chairman of global distribution and international operations, to leave the firm.

Kevin MacLellan

MacLellan, who has been with NBCU for almost two decades, will remain until the transition process is complete, working with film and entertainment chairman Jeff Shell and Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCU’s international group and Telemundo Enterprises.

Shell wrote a memo to staff this week detailing the plans, which come after NBCU bolstered its international presence through parent company Comcast’s acquisition of European satcaster Sky.

“In light of Kevin’s departure, we have reassessed our international organisational structure. With the rapidly evolving global media landscape, we have decided to more closely align our US and international operations. This will perfectly position us for future growth, as we take advantage of our increased international footprint and the growing number of platforms for our content,” said Shell.

The new structure of NBCU’s international group will see Ken Bettsteller become president, global networks, overseeing all non-Sky Network operations across EMEA, APAC and Latin America, reporting to Conde.

Duccio Donati, executive VP of lifestyle and kids’ networks, will now report to Frances Berwick, president of NBCU lifestyle networks. Duccio will continue to oversee E! Entertainment Television internationally and will take on oversight of Hayu, led by Hendrik McDermott.

In international production, NBCU’s international studios, headed by Jeff Wachtel, will now report to Bonnie Hammer, recently appointed chairman of NBCU content studios, and George Cheeks, vice chairman of NBCU content studios.

The international formats group will report to Meredith Ahr, president, alternative and reality group at NBC Entertainment.

Global distribution, led by Belinda Menendez, will now report jointly to George Cheeks and Pete Levinsohn, president and chief distribution officer at Universal Filmed Entertainment Group.

Business development in EMEA will move under Sky, with Ben Braun, senior VP, strategy and business development, coordinating business development in Lat Am and APAC in partnership with Cesar and Justin Che.

David Gibbons, senior VP, international operations and technology, will leave his role in 2020 following completion of key integration projects, Shell said.

During his time at NBCU, MacLellan and his team have managed more than 2,600 employees across 36 countries. Shell said among MacLellan’s many accomplishments were advising on the Sky acquisition, securing numerous volume licensing and production deals and launching Hayu in 14 countries.

NBCU’s international studios business has also grown during MacLellan’s tenure and now includes the producers behind shows such as Downton Abbey, Hanna and The Capture. His next move is not yet known.

“Change is never easy but I’m confident that we have never been better positioned for global growth. The combination of our outstanding international team, with the strength and reach of our new sister company, Sky, sets us up for future success in a very competitive marketplace,” said Shell.

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