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Salmon to lead Banijay in UK

Banijay has appointed Peter Salmon and Lucinda Hicks to lead its UK operations, with Endemol Shine exec Richard Johnston leaving following the merger between the two production and distribution giants.

Peter Salmon

Salmon, formerly chief creative officer of Endemol Shine Group, has been appointed executive chairman of Banijay UK, while Hicks is stepping up from territory chief operating officer to become CEO.

Salmon will oversee the UK’s portfolio of 25 unscripted and scripted production labels, with a focus on content and creativity, with Hicks will running day-to-day operations.

Richard Johnston, current CEO of Endemol Shine UK, will leave the business as a result of the restructure. Johnston was appointed CEO in January 2015, having overseen the merger of the Endemol and Shine companies in the UK.

Salmon joined ESG in 2016 and oversaw creative operations across the business worldwide, accelerating the roll-out of the group’s brands across all platforms. He previously held senior leadership positions at the BBC, Channel 4, Granada TV and The Television Corporation.

Lucinda Hicks

Hicks, who will report to Salmon, was appointed COO of Endemol Shine UK in March 2015. Prior to this, she was joint MD at prodco Dragonfly, having previously fulfilled a number of commercial, strategic and operational roles at Shine Group, C4, FremantleMedia, and the BBC.

Johnston began his television career in 1996 when he joined Bazal Productions, the independent prodco established by Sir Peter Bazalgette. He later became part of Endemol, where he went on to hold a number of senior positions including joint MD, chief financial officer and COO.

Following the completion of Banijay’s protracted US$2.2bn takeover of ESG in July, Banijay UK now produces shows including MasterChef, Young Wallander, Grantchester, Tipping Point, Mr Bean, Ambulance and Hunted.

Richard Johnston

Today’s news follows similar announcements about Banijay’s management structure in France, Iberia, Italy, Benelux and Germany, while Cathy Payne is overseeing the merger of the Banijay and ESG distribution operations.

Marco Bassetti, Banijay CEO, said: “The UK is now one of our biggest markets, with a plethora of multi-genre labels and an incredible catalogue that has travelled the globe. With this scale, we needed robust leadership which spanned both the creative narrative of the group and the operational one.

“Already heavily engaged in the country’s business and tapped into much of its network, Peter and Lucinda were in a prime position to take the group through the next stage of its journey.”

Salmon added: “It’s a great moment to land one of the biggest production jobs in the world. Having worked across our UK slate from a global perspective for nearly five years, I know how exciting the shows and producers are. In Banijay UK, we have an unrivalled network of creative talent, a multi-regional footprint, first-class formats and a world-beating catalogue – an incredible advantage moving forward.”

Hicks said: “It’s great to be combining this tremendous talent, entrepreneurialism and IP under one roof. It has been a pleasure working with Richard over the last few years. The power of our brands and the appetite for them globally has made ESUK such an exciting place to be, which is now bolstered further with more creative leaders and amazing IP.”

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