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Andrea Scrosati Leaving Sky Italia to Become Fremantle COO

Andrea Scrosati, the Sky Italia programming chief behind such hit international series as “The Young Pope” and “Gomorrah,” has been appointed COO of production and distribution giant Fremantle.

He will succeed Sangeeta Desai, who earlier this year decided to step down as Fremantle’s COO and CEO of emerging markets after five years.

Scrosati will start in his new post in November and report to new Fremantle CEO Jennifer Mullin. He will have board-level responsibility for central group functions including strategy, M&A, legal and business affairs, as well as the company’s operations across Southern Europe (Italy, Spain, France, Portugal), Brazil, Mexico, Israel and Fremantle’s U.K. scripted label Euston Films, according to a statement.

Scrosati joined Sky Italia in 2007 as vice president of corporate and market communications. Three years later, he was put in charge of movie content and programming at the paybox’s flagship SkyUno channel. Under his guidance, Sky Italia started shaking up Italy’s TV landscape in 2008 with a batch of edgy scripted content, including “Crime Novel,” a show that revolved around a real heroin-dealing gang and that was sold to 40 countries.

More recently, he has been instrumental in Sky Italia’s commissioning of some of Europe’s hottest TV series, including “Gomorrah” and Paolo Sorrentino-directed “The Young Pope.” Despite Italy’s economic crisis, Sky Italia’s subscriber base is growing, with its non-sports content considered an important driver. In 2018, the company struck deals with Netflix and Mediaset, integrating their content with Sky’s offer.

Scrosati, who will relocate from Italy to London for his new job, will be a member of Fremantle’s global operating board and its investment committee. He will also be chair of Fremantle’s production companies Wildside (Italy), Miso Film (Scandinavia) and Abot Hameiri (Israel), and will serve on the board of both Kwai and Fontaram in France, the statement said.

Scrosati will have business and operational responsibility for the execution of Fremantle’s global scripted plan, as the company increases its output of high-end shows, “ensuring that projects are adequately resourced and positioned at the point of greenlight,” the statement said. He will be working closely with Sarah Doole, Fremantle’s director of global drama, and Jens Richter, CEO of International, throughout development, financing and pre-production.

“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Andrea to Fremantle,” Mullin said in the statement. “His deep understanding of audiences, his global mindset, his track record of taking bold risks, and his world-class creative and commercial acumen are all going to be invaluable as we embark on an increasingly ambitious path to growth.”

Mullin also thanked Desai for having “been a crucial architect of Fremantle’s push into high-end drama, our big strategic investments and our sustained global growth.”

“There has never been a more exciting time for the global creative and content industry,” said Scrosati. “And there is no doubt that Fremantle is driving this momentum: supporting and investing in the best talent from across the world, innovating and taking the right risks, and always marrying a local focus with a global vision.”

In a notable twist that indicates a friendly parting of ways with Sky, Scrosati will remain chair of Vision Distribution, the theatrical film-distribution company set up in 2016 between Sky Italia and five independent Italian production companies, including Wildside. Vision has proved successful in terms of revenues and also in shaking up Italy’s static film distribution sector.

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