Barcelona-based Grup Mediapro has promoted Laura Fernández Espeso to the post of general manager with oversight over not just The Mediapro Studio, where she currently serves as CEO, but the whole of the Group. The appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2025.
As Grup Mediapro’s No. 2, reporting to Mediapro co-founder Tatxo Benet, Group Media President and CEO, Fernández Espeso will oversee a company now streamlined in five business units, two new, focused on the Group’s principle revenue drivers.
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Fernández Espeso replaces Juan Ruíz de Gauna who has had a stellar career occupying senior management positions from an early age at key companies re-shaping Spain’s modern media landscape as ongoing deregulation kicked in, at Antena 3 TV, Prisa’s Sogetel, Sogepaq and IDEA, then Via Digital, Telefonica and from 2002 at Mediapro and its commercial broadcaster La Sexta.
Apart from Fernandez Espeso, other long-serving Mediapro execs have been promoted at the giant multimedia communications group.
The moves, aimed at fortifying and taking advantage of its position in the fast-evolving media and entertainment world, see Alberto Vía taking over as head of Broadcast and Media Services, starting on January 1, 2025.
The restructure coincides with the group’s 30th anniversary as it seeks to become a nimbler and decentralized organization where different departments and divisions have significant autonomy and decision-making authority, promoting greater agility and horizontal collaboration, Grup Mediapro said in a written statement.
“This restructuring will reinforce and refresh the group’s leadership in the audiovisual industry, integrating the entire value chain and guaranteeing the continuity and future of the company with five professionals who have been with Grup Mediapro for over 15 years and who are fully dedicated to the purpose, mission and values of the group,” said Benet.
“The people taking on the new roles not only represent a generational change, but are evidence of Grup Mediapro’s commitment to its in-house talent.”
The group’s two new business units are the Channels and Platforms unit, to be led by Daniel Margalef, and the Mediapro Experiences unit, to be directed by David Xirau.
Oliver Seibert will lead the Sports Rights Agency with both Margalef and Xirau forming part of the management committee once they assume their new roles.
In addition, by next January, José Luis Rubio, will hand over the position of director of broadcast media services to Vía, currently CEO of Overon.
Ruiz de Gauna and Rubio will maintain their ties with the company.
As CEO of The Mediapro Studio since 2020, Fernández Espeso, who began her career in the independent film industry more than 20 years ago, has led the creation, production and distribution strategy for the more than 100 fiction and non-fiction TV and film titles that the Studio produces per annum worldwide.
Speaking to Variety last year at Mipcom, Fernández Espeso pointed out that Mediapro has also been producing English-language films for years, citing some Woody Allen productions and titles by Isabel Coixet (“The Secret Life of Words”) and Fernando León de Aranoa (“A Perfect Day”). It also co-produced Paolo Sorrentino “The Young Pope” and “The New Pope,” pioneered co-production with Latin America and beyond, and driven ever more into English-language content, launched three seasons of the “The Head” onto the open international market, co-producing Mike Leigh’s upcoming “Hard Truths” and backing the Erik Barmack produced “Hunting Ana Bravo,” starring Kate del Castillo.
Vía, currently CEO of Overon, started at Grup Mediapro in 1999 with Globecast España. He later became EMEA Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Globecast in France before returning to Spain in 2006 to lead Overon.
Seibert joined Mediapro’s rights division in 2007 from Infront Sports & Media. He played a pivotal role in negotiating and commercializing rights contracts for various leagues, including LaLiga, FIFA, UEFA, Concacaf, Conmebol, and the French and Belgian leagues. His efforts significantly increased La Liga’s market value from under €100M ($109 million) in 2007 to over €700M ($756 million) today.
Margalef began his career at Catalan public broadcaster TV3’s Sports Department in 1985 and held various positions until joining Mediapro Group in 2013 as coordinator of the sports rights department and relations with La Liga.
Xirau transitioned from strategic consulting to Mediapro in 2005. He led special projects, focusing on R&D and exhibitions such as the Spanish pavilion at Expo Zaragoza and the FCB museum. In 2013, he directed the creation of Mediapro Exhibitions, overseeing projects like Cosmocaixa’s Sala Univers, the Real Madrid Immersive Tour, and the Mirador Torre Glòries in Barcelona.
John Hopewell contributed to this article
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