Sophie Turner Laing, former CEO of Endemol Shine and MD of Sky, has been appointed chair of the U.K. National Film and Television School’s (NFTS) board of governors. She will become the NFTS’ first female chair when she succeeds Ingenious founder Patrick McKenna, who will step down at the end of his term in August.
During McKenna’s tenure, which began in 2013, the NFTS became the film school to win a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education and the first educational institution to be awarded a BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.
Turner Laing was in charge of Endemol Shine from 2014-2020, overseeing a network of more than 120 creative production companies in 28 markets. She stepped down from the role after the Banijay takeover.
As Sky MD, she was instrumental in increasing investment in original British programming and revitalising Sky Arts. The executive previously held several senior roles at the BBC.
In 2013, she was awarded a Royal television Society fellowship for her outstanding contribution to British television. In 2018, she was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her services to the media and honored with an International Emmy – Directorate Award.
Turner Laing has previously served on the NFTS board of governors, contributed to masterclasses and supported its initiatives to encourage newcomers into the industry.
Turner Laing said: “The NFTS is the leading light in the film, television and games industries across the U.K., nurturing skilled craftspeople and visionary talents over the last five decades. You only have to look at their alumni and see the students’ fantastic work, to feel the vibrancy of the School. It is a real honour to join the NFTS at such a vital time in the creative industries and I look forward to taking up the mantle of chair from Patrick McKenna and to playing my part in the school’s future as it continues to flourish.”
Jon Wardle, NFTS director, added: “Sophie’s appointment ushers in an exciting new chapter for the NFTS, and I’m confident she will help the school reach ever greater heights. She will be a formidable advocate for the NFTS and all of its values. I would also like to thank Patrick McKenna for the invaluable support and advice he has given to me personally, and to the school more broadly over the past nine years.”