Mark Shapiro and Ioris Francini have been named Co-Presidents of WME | IMG. Shapiro previously served as Chief Content Officer and Francini had been President of IMG Media. As Co-Presidents, Shapiro and Francini will oversee the company’s media, events, fashion (including IMG Models, Art + Commerce, and The Wall Group), licensing, global partnerships, original content, IMG College, IMG Academy, The Miss Universe Organization, Professional Bull Riders, and Frieze businesses, in addition to the company’s new China subsidiary. Shapiro, who has been at WME sincce 2014, will continue to be based in New York; Francini, who has been with IMG since 2003, is based in London.
Together, Shapiro and Francini have been credited by their company for overseeing the acquisitions of Professional Bull Riders, MADE, The Miss Universe Organization, Fusion Marketing, IMG Live, The Wall Group, and PWR Events. They also created the first professional eSports league in ELEAGUE and revamped European basketball through a joint venture with Euroleague.
They are credited also with building strategic partnerships with Frieze and Tough Mudder and signed deals with top-100 global advertisers including Etihad Airways, Visa and AB InBev.
In the past two and a half years, they have also aligned with WME’s TV group to negotiate global distribution for programs like The Night Manager and The Young Pope and also produced and helped distribute the films Gleason and Where to Invade Next.
They also in-housed data and streaming platforms to support the company’s gaming and OTT initiatives and created a subsidiary in China alongside Sequoia Capital, FountainVest, and online giant Tencent.
In addition, they are credit with creating a new OTT platform in Made to Measure (M2M) and new sports channels such as Sport 24 Extra.
Prior to joining WME | IMG in 2014, Shapiro was CEO of Dick Clark Productions. From 2006 to 2010, he served as director/president and CEO of Six Flags Entertainment Corporation. Before joining Six Flags, he spent twelve years at ESPN, where he oversaw both production and programming.
Francini joined IMG in 2003 as head of media sales in Italy before relocating to London in 2007 to lead sales across EMEA. He was promoted to exec VP of IMG Media in 2012 and then to President of IMG Media in 2014. Previously, he served as Hhad of legal and biz affairs at European film production company MovieWeb.