Gaumont Consolidates TV Operations Under Gene Stein, Katie O’Connell Exits

UPDATED: Another executive shakeup at an independent production company. Veteran Gene Stein, who last week departed his post as CEO of Sonar Entertainment, has been named president of Gaumont Television U.S., a new unit combining all Gaumont TV operations, LA-based Gaumont International Television, Paris-based Gaumont Television Europe and Paris-based Gaumont Animation. Gaumont International Television CEO Katie O’Connell Marsh is exiting. Her contract was coming up, and Gaumont recently had quietly hired a headhunter for the position.

GeneStein-GaumontTelevision-2015Based in Los Angeles, Stein will report directly to Christophe Riandee, Vice CEO of Gaumont. “Gene is the perfect person to lead our U.S. operations as we head into the next phase of our global growth,“ said Riandee. “Katie expressed an interest in closing her chapter at Gaumont and we are grateful for all of the success she brought to this division. We are very proud of HannibalHemlock Grove and Narcos that Katie shepherded from concept to screen.”

While he inherits O’Connell Marsh’s post, Stein is not getting a CEO title. There had been speculation of Riandee possibly trying to exert bigger control over the company’s U.S. television operation.

Gaumont set up U.S. base in fall 2010 when it started GIT with former Imagine TV and NBC executive O’Connell at the helm. The company, which has been in the straight-to-series business, launched three series that all ran multiple seasons, Hannibal on NBC as well as Hemlock Grove and the current Narcos on Netflix. The company also has animated comedy F is for Family coming up on Netflix and recently landed in a competitive situation drama series project Viva La Madness with Jason Statham attached to star.

“The past 5 years have been truly the most incredible work experience of my life,” O’Connell Marsh said. “Being able to build an independent television studio from the ground floor was challenging but profoundly rewarding.  The team we built at GIT is unparalleled and the culture we cultivated was inspiring.  I am so thankful to Nicolas Seydoux, Sidonie Dumas and Christophe Riandee for giving me this opportunity, for supporting our successes and for allowing me to move forward.  I look forward to the outstanding series that will continue to come out of the brilliant GIT team.”

This is the latest top executive shakeup at an independent production company. It follows last week’s changeover at Sonar Entertainment and recent departures at Alcon Entertainment and Georgeville TV. 

Gene Stein comes to Gaumont Television from Sonar Entertainment where he has been serving as CEO since May 2014 responsible for the overall creative direction and strategic management of the company and where he has executive produced three series launching in the next 12 months, including The Shannara Chronicles (MTV), South Of Hell (WeTV), and Taboo (BBC/FX, starring Tom Hardy). Prior to Sonar, Stein spent six years as President of Television at BermanBraun where he developed and produced drama, comedy, and unscripted series. Before joining BermanBraun, Stein was an executive producer at ABC Studios for eight years and served in various positions at CBS for five years, where he helped launch Everybody Loves Raymond among other series.

Additional executives now part of Gaumont Television and reporting to Riandee will be Isabelle Degeorges, Head of French-language productions, Elizabeth Dreyer, Head of European Co-Productions, Pierre Belaïsch, President of Animation, and Erik Pack, President of International Distribution.

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