Sullivan, to be based in Los Angeles, starts July 27 and reports to Peter Rice, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks.
As president of digital, Sullivan will be responsible for developing FNG’s strategy in the direct-to-consumer digital video category, indicating Fox has plans to launch an over-the-top service at some point. He’s also in charge of driving growth across FNG’s portfolio of products, which include FoxNow, FXNow, Fox Sports Go and the group’s international Fox Play products.
“Brian’s track record — which includes leading the turnaround at Sky Deutschland, as well as helping to build BSkyB into one the world’s most successful pay-TV platforms — underscores his constant focus on putting the customer first while embracing new technologies and platforms to deliver the best experience possible,” Rice said in announcing the hire. “It is vital that we have a single executive dedicated to these efforts, and Brian is clearly the perfect person to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Sullivan had served as chief exec of Sky Deutschland since 2010 before stepping down in March. The Philadelphia native is returning to the U.S. after having spent nearly two decades in Europe. Prior to Sky Deutschland — which had been a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp. and later 21st Century Fox — he spent 13 years at BSkyB, most recently as managing director of the satcaster’s customer group. Before that, Sullivan held various senior roles in the pay-TV industry in the States, including a stint at Showtime Networks (then owned by Viacom).
Fox said Sullivan will collaborate closely with Randy Freer, president and COO of FNG, as well as the heads of the group’s channels — FX’s John Landgraf, Fox Intl. Channels’ Hernan Lopez, NatGeo’s Courteney Monroe, Fox Broadcasting’s Gary Newman and Dana Walden, and Fox Sports’ Eric Shanks — to help develop a single, global commercial platform to tap into digital opportunities around data and advertising.
“This new role not only returns me to my roots in the U.S., but also does so at a time of significant change within the video industry, one which is full of amazing new opportunities,” Sullivan said in a statement. “With its strength in content, creativity, and channels, both linear and on-demand, I can’t think of a company better poised to benefit from these opportunities than Fox.”