Sky Studios CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz has been selected as the 2022 recipient of the Variety International Achievement in Television Award, to be presented at global content market MipTV in Cannes in April. Frot-Coutaz was the Head of EMEA at YouTube and CEO of Fremantle before joining Sky Studios last year.
The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership and innovation in the international television marketplace. In her long and distinguished career, Frot-Coutaz has led some of the TV and streaming industry’s most forward-looking organizations as they evolve in the new media landscape.
This year will mark Frot-Coutaz’s first full year as CEO of Sky Studios, having joined the production arm of Comcast-backed pay-TV operator Sky in September 2021.
In addition to developing, commissioning and producing Sky Original comedy and drama, Frot-Coutaz has responsibility for Sky Studios’ factual output as well as its global portfolio of production companies. This extensive network includes such outfits as Blast! Films, Jupiter Entertainment, True North and Love Productions, creator of “The Great British Bake Off.” Frot-Coutaz also oversees Sky Studios Elstree, the state-of-the-art film and TV studios set to open later this year. The operation will house 13 sound stages and promises to be the world’s most sustainable studio.
Frot-Coutaz began her career in strategy consulting at Mercer Management Consulting in the U.K. In 1994, after obtaining her MBA, she joined the Pearson group headquarters in London, where she was subsequently named Corporate Strategy Executive for Pearson TV. There, she spearheaded the acquisition and integration of All American Fremantle into the Pearson Television group.
In 2001, she relocated to Burbank as the U.S. commercial lead for the renamed FremantleMedia Group and was responsible for delivering some of the production company’s biggest shows, including “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent.” Rising up in the ranks, she became CEO in 2012, helping Fremantle expand into the world of high-end drama with shows like “Deutschland 83,” “American Gods” and “The Young Pope.”
She joined YouTube in October 2018 as Head of EMEA, responsible for all aspects of the business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, including forging partnerships with and supporting YouTube’s growing community of content creators. She is a graduate of ESSEC (B.A., 1988) and of INSEAD (M.B.A., 1994).
Manori Ravindran, international editor for Variety, said: “It’s hugely exciting to present Variety’s International Achievement in Television Award to Cécile Frot-Coutaz, a bold executive who’s been one of the most visionary leaders in the industry, with vast and unique experience in production, distribution and streaming. We can’t wait to honor her in Cannes and hear her insights into the business.”
Frot-Coutaz said: “I am honored to receive this award from Variety, but really it is an award for all the incredible talent — both on-screen and off — that I have been fortunate to work with over my career. TV is a truly brilliant business and I feel lucky to be part of an industry that has the power to illuminate untold stories on a global stage. Today, more than ever, it is critical that our storytelling reflects the diversity and richness of the audiences we serve and that we continually seek to uncover, nurture and elevate diverse talent across all areas of production.
Lucy Smith, director of RX France’s Entertainment Division and director of MipTV, added: “Cécile is a global creative leader whose experience spans all aspects of our industry across three decades of achievements. We are delighted to again provide the platform for this hugely prestigious award at MIPTV, enabling the industry to hear insights from this illustrious career and be enlightened further on future plans at an exciting time for Sky Studios.”
MipTV is being planned as an in-person event in Cannes, running from April 4-6.