MacLellan has been with Comcast since 2001 and was most recently Chairman of Global Distribution and International.
Jeff Shell, Chairman, NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, in a note to staff, said that he was “disappointed” to reveal MacLellan’s exit. “Kevin MacLellan has made the difficult decision to leave the company and is ready to move on to his next challenge. Kevin and I have worked closely together for over 14 years, during which time he has always been a trusted friend and advisor,” he wrote.
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MacLellan advised on Comcast’s acquisition of Sky, launched streaming service hayu in 14 countries and oversaw the company’s international studios business, which includes Downton Abbey producer Carnival. “We are sorry to see him go, but look forward to seeing what his next chapter will be,” he added.
One of the major changes following MacLellan’s exit is that it will bring the international production division under the leadership of Bonnie Hammer and George Cheeks.
Earlier this month, the Hollywood studio brought Universal Television and Universal Content Productions together under a single business, NBCUniversal Content Studios, run by Chair Bonnie Hammer and Vice Chair George Cheeks. The pair will now have responsibility for NBCUniversal International Studios, which encompasses the likes of Downton Abbey producer Carnival, Hanna producer Working Title TV, Made In Chelsea producer Monkey and Australian drama producer Matchbox.
This division, run by president and NBCUniversal cable veteran Jeff Wachtel, previously reported to MacLellan. Wachtel has overseen the international production unit since January 2018, first from LA before moving to London. The company’s indies are currently producing series including Carnival’s Julian Fellowes-penned period drama Belgravia (left) for Epix and ITV and an adaptation of Emily St John Mandel’s mystery thriller The Glass Hotel via its Canadian company Lark Productions. In addition to Hanna, recent successes of the international studio under Wachtel include The Capture for BBC and shepherding the Downton Abbey movie with Focus Features.
Separately, the company’s international formats team, which oversees the global rollout of formats such as Saturday Night Live and World of Dance, will now come under Meredith Ahr, President of NBCU’s Alternative & Reality division.
“In light of Kevin’s departure, we have reassessed our international organizational structure. With the rapidly evolving global media landscape, we have decided to more closely align our U.S. and international operations. This will perfectly position us for future growth, as we take advantage of our increased international footprint and the growing number of platforms for our content,” said Shell.
Elsewhere, Ken Bettsteller will become President, Global Networks, overseeing all non-Sky Network operations across EMEA, APAC and LatAm, adding Lee Raftery as a direct report, and partnering with Justin Che. Bettsteller will report directly to Cesar Conde, Chairman, NBCUniversal International Group and Telemundo Enterprises. DreamWorks Animation Networks, headed by Jennifer Lawlor, will report to Raftery.
Duccio Donati, EVP, Lifestyle & Kids Networks, will now report to Frances Berwick, President of the NBCUniversal Lifestyle Networks. Donati will continue to oversee E! Entertainment Television internationally and will take on oversight of hayu led by Hendrik McDermott.
Global Distribution, led by Belinda Menendez and now encompassing Sky Vision, will now report jointly to Cheeks and Pete Levinsohn, President and Chief Distribution Officer for Universal Filmed Entertainment Group.
Business Development in EMEA will move under Sky, with Ben Braun, SVP, Strategy & Business Development, coordinating Business Development in LatAm and APAC in partnership with Cesar and Justin Che.
Finally, David Gibbons, SVP, International Operations & Technology, will leave his role in 2020 following completion of key integration projects.
“Change is never easy, but I’m confident that we have never been better positioned for global growth. The combination of our outstanding international team, with the strength and reach of our new sister company Sky, sets us up for future success in a very competitive marketplace,” Shell added.
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