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Banijay Americas ups Ben Samek to CEO, Cris Abrego to remain as chairman

Banijay Americas has promoted Ben Samek to CEO to replace Cris Abrego, who has stepped down the role but retains his position as chairman.

Ben Samek

Samek, who previously served as president and chief operating officer of Banijay Americas, will now be tasked with overseeing the company’s North American and Latin American production studios.

In his new capacity, Abrego will focus on acquisitions and new business ventures. Abrego’s title was previously chairman of the Americas, Banijay, and president and CEO of Endemol Shine Holdings.

Samek joined Endemol USA in 2014 as COO before transitioning to Endemol Shine North America as COO in 2015 and later being promoted to president and COO in 2018. When Banijay acquired Endemol Shine Group in 2020, Samek’s remit expanded to include oversight of the Banijay companies in the US and Latin America. Previously, he was the COO at 51 Minds Entertainment, where he worked closely with company co-founder Abrego.

Banijay Americas is a division of France’s Banijay, which sits under FL Entertainment. The subsidiary production companies under Banijay Americas include US-based Endemol Shine North America, Bunim/Murray Productions, Truly Original, 51 Minds Entertainment, Authentic Entertainment and Stephen David Entertainment, Mexico-based Endemol Shine Boomdog and Banijay Mexico and US Hispanic, and Brazil-based Endemol Shine Brasil and A Fábrica.

“When I decided to step down as CEO, I knew Ben was the ideal person to take the reins as chief executive of Banijay Americas,” said Abrego.

“He has been a key partner to me for more than two decades and I know him to be an extraordinary and results-driven leader with the experience and relationships to drive success both domestically and internationally.”

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