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Francis promoted, Webster appointed in Sky Sports reshuffle

Barney Francis has been promoted to the new role of chief executive of future sport at pay-television broadcaster Sky, with Rob Webster named as his replacement as managing director of the UK arm of Sky Sports.

Francis has been at Sky for more than two decades and has served as managing director of Sky Sports for the last decade since replacing Vic Wakeling in the role in 2009.

In his new role, reporting to Sky group chief executive Jeremy Darroch, Francis will focus on the changing world of sport and the place Sky and its sister US media company NBCUniversal occupy within it.

NBCU’s parent company, Comcast, took control of Sky last September.

Francis will work with colleagues across both Sky and NBCU to look at global opportunities for growth for the benefit of the whole of Comcast.

Darroch said: “Barney has driven growth and innovation for Sky Sports in the face of increased competition in the sports market, finding new and better ways to bring fans closer to the content they love. This makes him one of the most qualified executives to anticipate where the next big opportunities lie for us.”

Francis’ replacement as managing director of Sky Sports, Rob Webster, will report to UK and Ireland chief executive Stephen van Rooyen.

Webster’s career at Sky extends over 20 years and covers a variety of roles across group partner channels, legal and channels and operations. Most recently, Webster has been responsible for negotiating deals with global content partners across all Sky territories and has also led multiple channel distribution negotiations with the broadcast industry.

Van Rooyen said: “He is a strong team player with expertise in commercial deals and brings with him strong external partner relationships. I know that Rob will bring a fresh perspective to Sky Sports and will be working closely with the extremely capable senior team there to build on the plans already in place.”