Darroch first joined Sky in 2004 as CFO and was elevated to chief executive three years later. He has overseen a period of extraordinary growth at Sky, which resulted in the company becoming a European powerhouse and ultimately being acquired by Comcast for £30 billion ($40 billion) in 2018.
Darroch will move upstairs for the rest of 2021, serving as executive chairman. Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts thanked Darroch for his “exceptional leadership” and said he was glad to have him around as an adviser.
Strong becomes Sky CEO after three years as Comcast’s president of consumer services, based in Philadelphia. She is no stranger to the UK, however, having worked as president and COO at Sky’s cable rival Virgin Media prior to joining Comcast in 2018. She was also the chief transformation officer at Virgin’s owner, Liberty Global, between 2015 and 2017.
She will have big shoes to fill after Darroch tripled Sky’s size during his tenure, taking control of affiliates in Italy and Germany, and growing the company’s customer base to 24 million. Along the way, he has invested in TV technology, burnished Sky’s environmental credentials, cemented its status as a home for Premier League football, and expanded its reach into original content, such as Chernobyl.
One of his biggest legacies is currently being built in Elstree, north London, where Sky will open a major new film and TV studio in 2022. The 32-acre complex will consist of nine buildings, including 12 sound stages.
Darroch said: “It has been a privilege to lead Sky for 13 years, and an experience that I have looked forward to every day, so my decision to leave has not been easy. But with the business firmly settled into the wider Comcast Corporation and a strong plan in place, now is the right time.”
Roberts added: “Sky’s values have been a perfect fit for ours and I credit Jeremy with building an incredible culture and executing the seamless integration with Comcast. He and his team have established a world-class brand and a strong, well-run business that will continue to flourish. Jeremy has been a terrific colleague to me and everyone at Sky.”
Commenting on Strong’s appointment, he continued: “She is an accomplished executive with an extraordinary ability to transform, inspire and drive positive change. She quickly made her mark on our US business, driving growth and innovation with an unwavering commitment to our customers. Her global experience and vision coupled with her leadership and track record at some of the largest media and telecommunications companies in the world make her the perfect leader for Sky.”
Darroch’s departure marks a significant changing of the guard at Sky. Sky Studios CEO Gary Davey also announced last year that he will be exiting the business in 2021.
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