American Gods producer and distributor Fremantle has poached Sky Italia content chief Andrea Scrosati to become COO of the RTL-owned superindie.

Scrosati, who has been responsible for commissioning hit dramas such as Gomorrah and The Young Pope, replaces Sangeeta Desai, who is stepping down after five years. He was most recently EVP, Programming at Sky Italia and will now have board level responsibility for central group functions including strategy, M&A, legal and business affairs at Fremantle.

Reporting to Jennifer Mullin, Fremantle’s Group CEO, Scrosati will also oversee the company’s operations across Southern Europe – Italy, Spain, France and Portugal – Brazil, Mexico and Israel and its UK scripted label Euston Films. He will be a member of Fremantle’s global operating board and its investment committee and will chair Fremantle’s production companies Wildside (Italy), Miso Film (Scandinavia) and Abot Hameiri (Israel) and will serve on the board of both Kwai and Fontaram in France.

He will have particularly oversight of Fremantle’s global scripted plan, ensuring that projects are adequately resourced and positioned at the point of greenlight, and will work closely with Sarah Doole, Fremantle’s Director of Global Drama, and Jens Richter, CEO, International, throughout development, financing and pre-production.

He has been in charge of programming at the Sky-backed pay platform since 2010, and in addition to Italian dramas that have travelled globally, he has been responsible for bringing unscripted shows such as The X Factor and MasterChef behind a paywall. His most recent commissions including Stefano Sollima’s Zero Zero Zero and George Clooney’s Catch-22, of which Sky Italia is a co-producer.

He joins Fremantle in November and will be based in the company’s global headquarters in London. He will remain chair of Vision Distribution, the JV movie distribution company set up in 2016 between Sky Italia and five independent Italian production companies, including Wildside.

Mullin said, “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Andrea to Fremantle. His deep understanding of audiences, his global mindset, his track-record of taking bold risks, and his world-class creative and commercial acumen are all going to be invaluable as we embark on an increasingly ambitious path to growth.

“I would also like to thank Sangeeta for all of her work over the last five years. She has been a crucial architect of Fremantle’s push into high-end drama, our big strategic investments and our sustained global growth, and she will be very greatly missed.”

Scrosati added, “There has never been a more exciting time for the global creative and content industry, and there is no doubt that Fremantle is driving this momentum: supporting and investing in the best talent from across the world, innovating and taking the right risks, and always marrying a local focus with a global vision.

“After over a decade at Sky Italia, I can look back at many ground-breaking achievements, an amazing team, a fantastic company and only great memories – and now I look forward to starting this exciting new adventure working with Jennifer and the very best talent in the industry.”