AMSTERDAM — Global production outfit Endemol has appointed Endemol U.K. chairman Peter Bazalgette chief creative officer, effective Jan. 1, taking over from co-founder John de Mol, who left in May.
Endemol chairman-CEO Joaquim Agut also named Tom Barnicoat, Endemol U.K. chief exec, as chief operating officer, replacing Ronald Goes, who will leave at year end.
Rumors about a shakeup have been swirling since last month, when Endemol management, led by the French but also including execs from the British, German and Spanish arms, collectively offered a reported E1.5 billion ($2 billion) to buy out Endemol.
The offer was rejected by its parent company, Spanish telco Telefonica, as being too low. It paid $6 billion for Endemol in 2000, and while the company’s shares have lost value, Telefonica, which has been unloading media properties, is unwilling to sell it for a song.
Endemol has had a lukewarm relationship with its highly successful French subsid for several years and the appointments, which puts two Dutch and two English directors on the board, with Agut at the helm, is not expected to give any joy to the French.
Bazalgette will oversee the creation of content worldwide for Endemol; Barnicoat will supervise the operation of all Endemol companies in 23 territories.
Mike Morley, who led the Global Creative Team formed earlier this year, will remain as executive director of creativity, programming and licensing and continue to head the GCT.
The GCT pulled major headlines when it began offering controversial formats earlier this year, including “Make Me a Mum” and “Sperm Race.” Neither format has been sold. Bazalgette, who has been chairman of Endemol U.K. since 2002, is a highly respected format creator who became a part of Endemol when he sold his own company, Bazal, now renamed Endemol U.K. Prods. His formats have included “Ready Steady Cook” and “Changing Rooms” (“Trading Spaces” in the U.S.).
Bazalgette’s track record may answer analysts’ worries about Endemol’s creative future, but he’s going to have to shift into high gear quickly.
De Mol is set to launch a creative division in his company, Talpa, which is expected to begin cranking out format ideas when his Telefonica non-compete clause expires in January.
Goes is also likely to end up in the De Mol camp. De Mol will launch a block of programming on Nickelodeon’s evening timeslots that is expected to heavily showcase his own format ideas, as well as spin out some expensive sports rights.
Bazalgette will also remain chairman of Endemol U.K., with Endemol’s U.K. creative director Tom Hincks stepping up to the position of chief creative officer of Endemol U.K. and commercial director Lucas Church and finance director Richard Johnston taking over as joint managing directors of Endemol U.K.
(John Hopewell in Madrid and Alison James in Paris contributed to this report.)