PARIS– Takis Candilis is getting ready to exit Lagardere Studios, France’s leading audiovisual production group, after an eight-year tenure as CEO and president, Variety has confirmed.
Candilis will step down next week, to be replaced by Christophe Thoral, who worked as Candilis’s right-hand man for six years before becoming head of finances, strategy, and development for Lagardere Active, the parent company of Lagardere Studios. Thoral will make his first public appearance as president of Lagardere Studios at the next Mipcom edition, which starts Oct. 17 in Cannes.
Candilis, previously managing director of TF1’s drama and daytime programming and president of TF1 Production, will join another company that isn’t a competitor of Lagardere Studios, according to the outfit’s spokesperson.
During his tenure at Lagardere Studios, Candilis launched Atlantique Productions — one of Lagardere’s 36 companies — which has produced some of France’s most ambitious English-language drama series, notably Tom Fontana’s “Borgia,” “Midnight Sun” from “The Bridge” creator Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, and “Transporter, the series.” Atlantique Productions is currently developing a raft of premium drama series with foreign partners, notably “Eden,” a French-German contemporary political drama dealing with the refugee crisis. It will be directed by “Deutschland 83” helmer Edward Berger.
Candilis has also spearheaded Lagardere Studios’s international expansion in Southern Europe with the acquisition of Grupo Boomerang TV, a leading Spanish TV production company, in May 2015, and the launch of Boomerang in Italy earlier this year. Speaking to Variety ahead of MipTV last April, Candilis said the company also had ambitions of expanding in booming markets in Latin America and West Africa.