Colombian-Italian executive Maximo Ibarra is expected to be appointed CEO of Comcast-owned pay-TV operation Sky Italia, which has been without a chief executive for the past seven months, a source close to Sky Italia tells Variety.
An announcement is believed imminent that Ibarra will be the Italian paybox’s new chief after it was announced Tuesday that he is leaving his position as CEO of Dutch phone company KPN at the end of the summer and returning to Italy to take up a new executive position.
The source close to Sky Italia confirmed Italian press reports that Ibarra is set to step into the top Sky Italia job. The position has been vacant since late November 2018, when former Sky Italia CEO Andrea Zappia was promoted to Sky Chief Executive for Continental Europe and reportedly entrusted with appointing his successor in Italy.
“It’s been a long and complicated process,” the source said. Sky Italia did not comment.
Prior to being appointed to head KPN in 2018, Ibarra, who is 50, was CEO of Italian telecom company Wind Tre. His expertise in that sector is considered a good fit with Sky Italia’s plans to link content and high-speed broadband service in Italy thanks to its recent deal with Italian broadband operator Open Fiber.
Though Sky Italia faces increased competition from streamers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, the mostly satellite-operated paybox more than doubled its profits in 2018 to almost €100 million ($113 million) and slightly increased its subscribers to 4.8 million. In January, Sky Italia crossed the 5-million-subscriber mark thanks to its new offerings via Open Fiber.
As Sky Italia CEO, Ibarra would report to Zappia, who in turn reports to London-based Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch. Ibarra is expected to take up the Sky Italia position in October after leaving KPN on Sept. 30.