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ITV Studios restructures production as Sally Debonnaire retires

ITV Studios, the production and sales arm of the UK commercial broadcaster, has added three new directors of production roles to oversee UK scripted, UK non-scripted and international production as director of production Sally Debonnaire prepares to retire.

Sally Debonnaire

Debonnaire will retire from full-time production management by early 2022 having first joined ITV Studios in 2012. She currently leads ITV Studios’ global production management teams and has overseen the expansion to a 60-strong production label business.

Her 40-year career includes stints as MD of Talkback Productions, MD of Avalon Television and controller of production operations at the BBC’s Vision Productions.

Matt Cleary and Helen Killeen will take on the roles of director of production for scripted and non-scripted respectively, reporting to chief operating officer David McGraynor.

Ben Russell will take on the role of director of production international and reporting directly to Lisa Perrin, MD of international production.

Matt Cleary

Cleary has more than 25 years of experience, beginning his career in entertainment, before moving into continuing drama at ITV Studios. In 2019, he was appointed head of production for drama and continuing drama, providing leadership and oversight to a growing slate of productions including series such as Vera, Shetland and The Bay.

Killeen started her career in factual and documentaries before moving to daytime, where she played a key role in the launch of Good Morning Britain. In 2014, she was appointed to the role of head of production daytime, overseeing seven-and-a-half hours of daily live television.

Ben Russell has been part of ITV for over 23 years, with his first 15 years spent in entertainment productions as both a production manager and a line producer on many reality, studio and location-based productions. He moved to ITV Sport as head of production operations in 2013.

Helen Killeen

Meanwhile, Jeanette Moffat takes up the role of head of production at Lifted Entertainment and Alice Gairdner will do so at ITV Studios Daytime, while in continuing, Nader Mabadi and Lee Rayner take up the position at soaps Emmerdale and Coronation Street respectively.

Julian Bellamy, MD of ITV Studios said: “We’re working in a huge period of change for our industry, and with ITV Studios’ strategic ambition to continue to grow UK and international production, the task is only going to get bigger and production management is vital in delivering this.

“Matt, Helen and Ben will lead teams that are capable of driving innovation and the sharing of best practice across all our UK and international businesses and I’m delighted to have them on board.

Ben Russell

“It is also testament to the strength of the talent we have working for us that Jeanette, Alice, Nader and Lee have all been promoted to their new roles.”

“Sally will remain at ITV Studios for the next few months and we’ll all have the chance to say a proper goodbye to her sometime next year.

“In the meantime, it’s typical of Sally’s leadership that she’s put in place such a well-organised transition plan with a brilliant production management team.”

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