Advanced Television

OSN: Tillieux replaces SKY-bound Stewart

November 26, 2018

By Colin Mann

Patrick Tillieux has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer at Middle East pay-TV operator OSN, effective immediately. He replaces Martin Stewart, who is leaving to take up a similar role at SKY Television in New Zealand.

Tillieux has been on OSN’s Board for two years and is the chairman of the executive committee of the Board. The OSN Board said it is delighted that he has agreed to increase his involvement with OSN and shares the Board’s vision for the company as the premier source of world class entertainment in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Tillieux has built and reshaped major pay-TV operations in Europe over a long and successful career spanning all areas of OSN’s business, as well as cable and telecoms. According to OS, his knowledge of the region, where he first worked in 1981, and his belief in OSN’s unique qualities and in the strengths of OSN’s teams will allow him to drive OSN to new heights.

“I am honoured to have been selected as OSN’s new CEO,” declared Tillieux. “As member of the Board it has been a privilege to witness firsthand the quality of OSN’s people and assets; I now look forward to steering OSN’s energy towards renewed growth and ever improved engagement with customers. I believe that OSN is uniquely positioned in the region to offer high quality innovative services that will make a real contribution to fulfilling customers’ desires.”

“The Board wishes to acknowledge Mr. Stewart’s efforts and achievements in strengthening operational efficiency and adding value to customers,” commented Faisal Al Ayyar, Chairman of OSN. “Under his leadership, OSN has significantly improved its operations and imbedded a customer first approach. He has also enhanced the company’s digital and technology capabilities to better serve customers. The Board thanks him for his contribution and wishes him the very best in all future endeavours.”

Tillieux holds an MSc in Civil Engineering and an MSc in Industrial Administration from the University of Louvain (Belgium). He is currently chairman of two companies and serves on other boards, mainly in the media space, across the world.

He was previously CEO of Red Bee Media Ltd (2012-14), COO of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG (2007-09) and held several positions up to CEO of SBS Broadcasting services Europe (Pay TV) (2001-07). He was CEO of CANAL+ Holland and CANAL+ Flandres (1999-2001), MD and CFO Holland Media Group (1995-98) and held various Director level positions within TF1 (1988-1994). Throughout this time, he has also consulted for leading operators, technology companies and broadcasters in various capacities.

His achievements include launching new pay-TV services and repositioning existing broadcasters, negotiating access to quality content for subscribers, and growing and improving profitability of large broadcasting operations. He also has extensive experience in M&A transactions and dealing with banks and other financiers.

He started his career with the engineering firm Bouygues, where he occupied various positions, in operations and planning, including postings in Saudi Arabia and the USA.

In announcing Stewart’s appointment, SKY Television described him as a “highly-regarded international media sector operator” with a wealth of experience in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. In the TMT space, as well as his role as CEO of OSN, Stewart  was CFO of Sky in the United Kingdom when Sky launched its digital platform and the company doubled its subscriber base in four years. He also led the successful turnaround of Spanish multiplay operator ONO.

His sports credentials include being CFO of the Football Association, serving on the Board of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games for seven years and playing a key role in successful Premier League and UEFA broadcast renewals on behalf of Sky UK.

“I am excited at the opportunity to lead SKY as it continues its transformation from a traditional television broadcaster to a multi-platform entertainment business,” commented Stewart. “SKY has an exceptional sport offering that covers the sports that New Zealanders love to watch, an unrivalled line-up of entertainment content, and it serves over 760,000 New Zealanders.”

“SKY is in a good place to take advantage of the opportunities that increased Internet connectivity is offering, while retaining its important strategic position of being able to deliver content, particularly live sport, to 100 per cent of the country. I’m looking forward to being part of the next phase of the SKY story.”

“We are delighted to be appointing a CEO of Martin’s calibre and international experience,” added SKY Chairman Peter Macourt. “We conducted an extensive global search for the right person to lead SKY, and had a strong field of candidates to select from. Martin’s experience, his leadership skills and his strong understanding of the opportunities and challenges of our sector made him a stand-out choice.”

Retiring CEO John Fellet also welcomed the appointmentdescribing Stewart as “an experienced professional with a deep understanding of our industry. He is highly regarded as a transformational leader, and I look forward to welcoming him to SKY.”

“Martin joins SKY at an exciting time for the company. Continuing to transform and enhance the experiences that SKY customers receive is a key part of SKY’s strategy, and Martin will bring a valuable international perspective to our business.”

At OSN, Stewart led a transformational programme including the launch of a new OTT service, and a major strengthening of infrastructure capability across the organisation with an emphasis on the digitisation of the business. Also during his tenure, the company revamped its pricing and packaging to make the service more accessible to customers. In March 2018 he was awarded ‘Broadcast Executive of the Year’ at the Digital Studio Awards (for the Middle East and North African (MENA) region).

Stewart will take up his role as CEO on  February 21st 2019.


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