Sky Italia executive Nicola Maccanico is stepping down from his post at the Comcast-owned pay-TV to become managing director of Italy’s Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, the state film entity that operates Rome’s expanding Cinecittà Studios.

Maccanico’s sudden career move comes as Italy’s Culture Minister Enrico Franceschini is implementing an ambitious relaunch of the iconic studios. Cinecittà is set for a multi-million Euro cash injection provided by the European Union’s post pandemic recovery fund. The expansion plan also entails the entry as partner of Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti bank and also possibly another high-profile private partner. The bank owns a plot of land next to Cinecittà, which will be soon able to roughly double its 99 acre backlot.

Chiara Sbarigia, who is general manager of Italy’s TV producers’ association APA, has been appointed president of Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, which besides the expanding studio facilities is involved in production, distribution and promotion of Italian cinema. Sbarigia will continue to also hold her ATP role.

“Cinecittà is the past, the present, and the future of our cinema,” Franceschini said in a statement “An [entity of] known and acknowledged around the world which now has an an ambitious growth and development project ahead,” the Italian culture minister added.

Maccanico, who besides his role at Sky as executive VP programming is a former managing director of Warner Bros. in Italy, is leaving Sky to join Luce-Cinecittà at a time when there is some turbulence at the pay-TV operation.

In a major blow, Sky Italia in March lost out to sports streaming app DAZN in the battle for the main domestic rights to screen Italy’s Serie-A soccer championship, exposing it to the risk of losing subscribers. The company is also planning to reduce its total workforce, including contractors, by 25% under a four year re-organization plan, according to Italian unions.

Maccanico’s unexpected exit from Sky is, however, not believed to be directly related to this turbulence. Rather, he was reportedly offered the Luce-Cinecittà job directly from the culture minister and, after some deliberation, welcomed the opportunity to help re-build Cinecittà into a major Italian film and TV industry hub and driver in a post-pandemic restart spirit.