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Sky Executive Jane Millichip, Distribution Leader and Key Architect of Sustainability Drive, to Step Down After 9 Years

Jane-Millichip
Sky

Sky executive Jane Millichip, a distribution leader and a driving force behind the company’s sustainability drive, is leaving the company after almost 10 years.

News of the executive’s departure was revealed to staff in a memo from Sky Studios CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz on Tuesday morning. Millichip, who currently serves as chief content officer for Sky Studios, is leaving the company after nine years. She first joined the business in 2013.

Millichip, a well-respected executive in the U.K. industry, made her mark at Sky through her leadership of the company’s in-house distribution banner Sky Vision, which was folded into NBCUniversal International Distribution following Comcast’s acquisition of Sky in 2018.

Under Millichip, Sky Vision grew from £8 million ($10.8 million) in revenues to £250 million ($338 million) in just six years. The executive was also key in growing the company’s investments in independent production companies, such as “Great British Bake Off” outfit Love Productions.

Since joining Sky Studios — the new in-house production arm — Millichip has led on editorial activities across the U.K., Germany and Italy on shows such as “A Discovery of Witches” (Season 3), “Der Pass” (Season 2) and forthcoming in-house production “The Rising.” She’s also been a strong champion and key architect of the company’s push into sustainable production across all Sky Originals, as well as a drive to work with diverse talent.

Millichip will remain at the company until late April.

In a letter to staff seen by Variety, she described her decision to leave as “agonizing, not least because I love working in this team.”

“In the nine years I have been at Sky we have evolved from a company principally known for its acquired content to a centre of excellence for Originals. And we have built a commercial model that means the Sky Original brand is seen throughout the world,” wrote Millichip, a former trade journalist who moved into TV and worked as a producer and commissioning editor.

Following Millichip’s exit, Frot-Coutaz has revealed that Caroline Cooper will be expanding her remit as chief operating officer at Sky Studios to encompass the company’s “broader commercial activities” as well as production operations and Sky Studios Elstree, which will open later this year.

Cooper — an eight-year Sky veteran — will oversee Sky Studios business affairs, the Jason Simms-led international scripted team and content operations.

Millichip is among the senior executives who have seen power switch hands at Sky in recent years following the Comcast takeover. Dana Strong took over from Jeremy Darroch as CEO of the company in January 2021, while Sky Studios CEO Gary Davey (a Sky veteran who was previously managing director of content) retired last year, with Frot-Coutaz coming over from YouTube in September 2021 to lead Sky Studios.

Frot-Coutaz’s internal memo to staff is below: 

Dear all,

I am writing to you today to update you on some People news within Sky Studios and to outline our new operating model across the Group.

After 9 brilliant years at Sky, Jane Millichip has decided to step down from her role as Chief Content Officer at Sky Studios to seek new challenges. As you will all know Jane has made a huge contribution since she joined the business in 2013. Under Jane’s leadership, Sky Vision, Sky’s former production and distribution arm, grew from £8m revenues to £250m in six years and spearheaded Sky’s investment into independent production companies and content distribution. Since the formation of Sky Studios, Jane expanded her initial commercial remit to include leading our editorial activities across the UK, Germany and Italy with the teams continuing to deliver stand-out Sky Originals like A Discovery of Witches S3, Der Pass S2 and our forthcoming in-house production The Rising, all while managing the ongoing challenges of COVID throughout production. In addition to this Jane has been a strong champion and key architect of Sky’s push into sustainable production across all our Sky Originals as well as our continued drive to attract and elevate diverse talent.

I would like to thank Jane for everything she has contributed to Sky and the support she has provided me in my first few months at Sky Studios. I am pleased that she will remain with the business until the end of April and we look forward to a proper in-person send-off then.

With Jane’s departure Gabriel Silver, Preethi Mavahalli, Jon Mountague, Nils Hartmann and Rebecca Segal will report directly to me.

Having been in role for five months, I have also taken the opportunity to review how we are organised and how we operate. With immediate effect, we are putting in place a number of changes to enable us to better deliver on our significant ambition in original content.

I am delighted to announce that Caroline Cooper will be expanding her remit as Chief Operating Officer, Sky Studios to encompass our broader commercial activities as well as our production operations, plus Sky Studios Elstree. With immediate effect Sky Studios Business Affairs, led by Julian Dexter, our International Scripted team, led by Jason Simms, our Content Operations, led by Bee Devine, and Director of Corporate Development, Rob Siegel will all report to Caroline, who also retains overall responsibility for Sky Studios Elstree. Caroline has been with Sky for eight years, working across a range of commercial, strategy and operational roles and has the perfect mix of skills, experience, and leadership capability to deliver the next phase of commercial and operational growth to Sky Studios.

Given the interdependencies of our operations, commercial and business affairs teams, bringing them together under a single leadership structure will allow us to move quicker, streamline decision making and foster greater collaboration.

Over the past five months, I have witnessed the restless passion this company has to deliver the best content and products to our customers across Europe. With this new operating model in place for Sky Studios, I believe we are well organised to deliver on our 2030 ambition and bring our customers even more Sky Original content worth paying for.

Cécile