Endemol picks De Mol

AMSTERDAM — In a new management shuffle, Endemol Entertainment has appointed John De Mol, co-founder of the fast-growing top European independent production company, as chairman of its executive board.

Joop van den Ende, also co-founder of the company, as of Jan. 1 will become vice chairman of the exec board.

The move reflects Endemol’s growing emphasis on its TV operations over live entertainment. Last October, Endemol announced TV business accounted for some 75% of its total turnover, and De Mol said he wanted that to come up to as much as 90% in the future.

Endemol has been strong in live entertainment inside Holland, but has pretty much taken a beating in the U.S. and the U.K., where it has tried to expand into theater. Its failure to reap profits with “Holiday on Ice” has also inspired more than a little skepticism among bean-counters about live entertainment ventures.

Endemol was formed in late 1993 when John De Mol and Joop van den Ende merged their interests to form a new internationally targeted company. They have continued to run their own production companies, now subsidiaries of Endemol, inside Holland while serving part time on the executive board.

A spokesperson for Endemol said plans for further expansion of TV operations called for “strong and full-time leadership. One of the two needed to be at the job five days a week.”

De Mol will also step up to his new position on Jan. 1, where he will oversee all international television production activities, as well as his own television production outfit in Hilversum.

The move also reflects the diverging interests of the two founders. Van den Ende, who began his career in the theater and is considered one of Holland’s premiere showmen, is behind much of Endemol’s live entertainment interests, including ShowbizCity, a theme park which opens tomorrow in Alsmere.

As vice chairman of the executive board, he will continue to focus on live entertainment and his television production company, also in Alsmere at the site of ShowbizCity.

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