CFO replaces Marco Bassetti as topper
ROME — Endemol on Friday upped its chief financial officer Just Spee to company CEO, following the exit one day earlier of group prexy Marco Bassetti, with whom Spee had been running the global TV content giant best known for “Big Brother.”Bassetti exited Thursday after 15 years with Endemol, in the wake of its recent $2.6 billion debt restructuring. Bassetti’s departure follows Italo broadcaster Mediaset’s exit from Endemol on April 3, which left the company entirely in the hands of its creditors, mainly Leon Black’s private equity firm Apollo Global Management and Dutch investment firm Cyrte Investments, which gained majority ownership. Bassetti, an experienced TV producer, who started his career at Mediaset, was considered the key link between Endemol and Mediaset, which was Endemol’s only industrial partner. Spee, an experienced top manager across a wide range of industries, but no previous TV background, joined Endemol as CFO in 2010. Bassetti and Spree had been managing Endemol in tandem after Ynon Kreiz stepped down in June 2011. After Kreiz’s departure, Charles Allen, a former CEO at the U.K. commercial TV net ITV, stepped in with an interim management team to co-ordinate key decisions. “Just brings a stellar track record of success,” said Allen in a statement. “Without the constraints of an onerous capital structure and supported by a new executive team that he will assemble, he is well positioned to pursue future growth.” According to insiders the likely plan for Endemol is now for a lucrative sale by its lenders, unburdened by debt. Time Warner in November 2011 made a $1 billion cash offer for Endemol, which was turned down. Besides “Big Brother,” Endemol is the producer of “Deal or No Deal,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and “Total Wipeout,” among some 10,000 hours of content across genres.