Mark Shapiro and Ioris Francini have been elevated to co-presidents of WME/IMG.
The two execs have been pillars of the expansion strategy at WME and IMG since the agencies were brought together in early 2014 through WME’s $2.2 billion acquisition of IMG.
Shapiro, based in New York, had previously served as chief content officer. Francini, based in London, was president of IMG Media, overseeing sales and sponsorship deals for the company’s array of sports, fashion and media events. The pair’s promotion comes a few weeks after the departure of Greg D’Alba as IMG’s head of global partnerships.
“Mark and Ioris have been great partners these past few years, helping us integrate WME and IMG, generate organic growth, and expand into new business lines and geographies,” said WME/IMG co-CEOs Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell. “WME/IMG is a strong, dynamic business with exciting opportunities ahead, and Mark and Ioris combine the vision and expertise to help the company succeed in this next chapter.”
In their new role, Shapiro and Francini will oversee all of the company’s media, events, fashion operations, licensing, global partnerships, original content, IMG College, IMG Academy, the Miss Universe Organization, Professional Bull Riders, and Frieze businesses, in addition to the company’s newly launched China subsidiary.
WME/IMG has expanded its content production and distribution operations significantly during the past two years, through its acquisitions of Miss Universe, Professional Bull Riders and other assets. WME/IMG has tapped into the company’s global reach by initiating program distribution deals for selected WME-repped projects including the AMC/BBC co-production “The Night Manager,” the HBO series “The Young Pope,” and Michael Moore’s last two films: “Where to Invade Next” and “Michael Moore in TrumpLand.”
WME/IMG was part of a consortium that made a rich $4 billion deal earlier this year for the UFC mixed martial arts league, although that entity does not fall under Shapiro and Francini’s purview.
Shapiro joined WME/IMG in 2014 after serving as CEO of Dick Clark Productions. He was also a senior exec at Dan Snyder’s RedZone Capital and at ESPN. Francini came to IMG in 2003 as head of media sales in Italy.
(Pictured: Mark Shapiro, Ioris Francini)