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Script competition

Off the Fence shuffles leadership

European producer and distributor Off the Fence (OTF) has rejigged its senior management following its takeover by Germany’s ZDF Enterprises (ZDFE) last month.

Ralf Rückauer

Ralf Rückauer, VP of ZDFE.unscripted, which is the distributor’s factual arm, is now sharing the position of OTF CEO with company founder Ellen Windemuth.

Last month the commercial arm of the German pubcaster announced it had acquired 100% of Netherlands-based OTF, which was founded in 1994 and specialises in factual content.

Windemuth and Rückauer initially maintained their existing roles with their respective companies but will now jointly oversee OTF’s operations.

Rückauer has been with ZDFE since 2003, focusing on factual programming. In 2012 he was appointed head of sales and later VP of ZDFE.factual. He has been VP of ZDFE.unscripted since the beginning of last year and will continue in this role alongside his new OTF duties.

The news was announced by Fred Burcksen, president and CEO of ZDFE, this morning. “Ralf is a proven expert in unscripted programming and has an excellent global network of long-standing industry contacts,” Burcksen said. “He is the perfect person to represent ZDFE and work with the Off the Fence team to advance our collective cause.”

OTF’s production arm has created more than 500 hours of content for broadcasters including History, the BBC, Channel 4, PBS, Discovery and National Geographic. It specialises in science, natural history, adventure and history.

Its distribution arm has a catalogue of more than 6,500 hours of content across the wildlife, science, travel, people, culture and lifestyle genres. It has offices in Amsterdam, London, Cape Town and Mainz.

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