Eurosport restructures as Hutton heads to Facebook

Eurosport is seeking a new chief executive after confirmation today (Monday) that Peter Hutton will leave the international sports broadcaster amid a major restructuring to take up a new position at social media company Facebook.

Hutton’s exit was first reported in January, but was confirmed today as it was announced that he will join Facebook as director of global live sports partnerships and programming, reporting to Dan Reed, head of global sports partnerships.

This is a new role for Facebook as it seeks to step up its engagement in the sports rights market. Hutton (pictured) will lead the company’s overall strategy to bring live sports broadcasts to Facebook and will start in the position in late May.

Hutton said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed a superb three years with Eurosport, an incredible experience with some brilliant people, both in Paris and in the wider Discovery family. However, the potential to work with Facebook to help the team and its partners unlock the power of live sports is too good an opportunity to turn down. I’m looking forward to an exciting journey and a bundle of new experiences, and hope I live up to the trust of Dan Reed and his team.”

Hutton joined Eurosport in March 2015 after leaving his role as co-chief executive of the MP & Silva agency to return to the broadcasting industry. Jean-Briac Perrette, chief executive of Eurosport’s parent company Discovery Networks International, today outlined a wider restructuring at the broadcaster amid further exits.

While an external search has commenced for a new chief executive, Perrette today said two further members of the Eurosport management team will depart. Arnaud Simon, senior vice-president of content and production, will leave the company shortly as will Geraldine Filiol, vice-president of Olympic relations and project coordination.

Emir Osmanbegovic, who has led the sports programming for Discovery’s sports brands in Sweden, will now lead Eurosport’s international sports production. In his role as senior vice-president of sports content and production, Osmanbegovic will also oversee regional sports production, including Olympic production, and he will be based in Paris.

Dave Schafer will take up the position of senior vice-president of sports operations and planning, leading all sports operations activities.

Laurent Prud’Homme will continue to oversee rights acquisition, syndication and affiliates co-ordination, and will absorb the additional responsibility for International Olympic Committee and media services, as well as the management of Eurosport Events on an interim basis.

Sameer Pabari will move into the digital team in a new role as senior vice-president of content strategy and business development, reporting to Mike Lang.

In a memo to staff, Perrette said: “Looking to the future, Eurosport has incredible momentum coming out of Pyeongchang (2018) and we need to take full advantage of this and build on it. With this in mind, the organisational changes I’m announcing are driven by two key beliefs.

“I want to continue to have some dedicated focus on our Olympics efforts but I don’t want it to be a separate team…one of our great strengths is that we deal with Olympic sport all year round, and I want us to leverage that even more by having it fully integrated into our Eurosport organisation.

“One of the most powerful things I saw at work during the Olympics was the incredible strength of our central and local model – it’s a huge differentiator and asset for us, nobody else has this or can do this. I think we can do even more to maximise this unique strength across all our functions.”