Brian Sullivan, one of the architects behind Sky+ and the MD of BSkyB’s customer group, is to leave the company to become chief executive of Sky Deutschland.
Sullivan will join News Corp’s German pay-TV operation on January 1, 2010 as deputy chief executive, before taking over from the current CEO Mark Williams on April 1, 2010. Williams’ position has been uncertain following recent reports in the German news magazine Der Spiegel. Belgian born Guillaume de Posch, the former TPS executive, had also been mentioned in connection with the role.
“Brian has made a valued contribution to Sky over 14 years,” commented Sky’s chief executive Jeremy Darroch. “As one of our senior team, he has played a major role as we’ve grown from an analogue TV service to an entertainment and communications company reaching a third of UK homes. When the time comes, he will leave with our thanks and best wishes for the next step in his career.”
Overseeing more than 10,000 people, Sullivan has responsibility for customer acquisition, upgrade and retention, product strategy and development, customer and field operations and market research.
Working closely with the team at NDS, Sullivan worked on the launch of the Sky+ personal video recorder, which has grown to 5,491,000, representing over half of the installed base. Three years ago he launched Sky’s HD service before turning his attention to 3D.
At IBC 2009, he emphasised the importance of customer service, highlighting how Sky’s new EPG was delayed because his eight-year-old son failed to navigate the new product.
There was praise for Williams from Markus Tellenbach, Chairman of Sky Deutschland’s Supervisory Board, who said he had made an enormous contribution in a short space of time. “He joined in extraordinary circumstances and moved quickly to stabilize the business, closing the security gap, recapitalizing the company, securing new Bundesliga rights and launching the new pay-TV service Sky – all in little over a year.”
In a memo to staff Williams said his decision to leave after just 18 months came as a result of family pressures relating to his three school age children.