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Sports production powerhouse IMG has recruited Sky Sports alum Barney Francis to spearhead the company’s development of new content and event franchises.

Francis will serve as executive vice president of global production, based in London.

“Barney is a transformative hire for our media business,” said Adam Kelly, Co-President of Media & Events at IMG. “As a key member of my leadership team, he will play a catalytic role in our strategic growth and development plans as we evolve our model to better empower rights holders to develop and deliver innovative, multiplatform content that engages fans directly. His pedigree, drive and exceptional reputation are undeniable, and we are excited to welcome him to IMG.”

Francis spent 20 years with Sky Sports where he was credited with expanding the platform with premium sports offerings including Formula One and the Masters golf tournament as well as the NBA. He had most recently served as managing director and before that, he was executive producer for soccer and cricket.

“I’m proud to be joining the team at IMG at such a pivotal moment in the sports industry,” Francis said. “As consumption habits continue to change, the offering we’ll debut will help teams, leagues and federations reach new and existing fans in creative and compelling ways.”

Francis’ appointment comes as part of IMG’s succession plan for senior executive Graham Fry, who will retire at the end of 2022.