Movers & Shakers Report - September / October 2013

Movers and Shakers Newsletter

September / October 2013

No. 34

We’re taking a Middle East theme this month.

In July I was fortunate to meet some of the leading media organisations in the Middle East, visiting clients in both Doha and Dubai.

What struck me about the visit (apart from the searing heat) was the high standards and professionalism I witnessed and their desire to be in the ‘best in class’ for everything they did. Be it a Telco moving into the digital services business or a traditional sports  broadcaster starting a new football season, the atmosphere was crackling with excitement – and anticipation . Growth in the region can be seen most strikingly at Media City Dubai where from a mere 30 anchor companies – the number of production, broadcast and service industries has rapidly risen to over 1800 in just over 10 years.

In addition to media companies there are also high tech and digital media companies such as Google and LinkedIn, and also ‘knowledge’ centres to help train the media executives of the future. From a talent perspective, both regions are keen to keep up their proportion of native Emirati and Qatari employees but nevertheless the challenge is to find the skills needed for these very new industries. Realistically ex-pat employment is  still very much on the agenda and we are delighted to be executive search partners  to our clients in this region.

I’d like to thank my hosts in the region for giving me such a warm welcome..

For those of you who aren't familiar with this report, it’s brought to you as a useful service to keep you up to date with the ever-revolving door. Here at Lumina, it’s our business to know who is where - and since we’re collecting this information anyway, we’re happy to share it with you each month, free of charge. Contributions are always welcomed.

Lastly, I would like to introduce a new face at Lumina. Matt joined us last month as Research Coordinator, having completed a History degree at Leicester. Matt writes about film for several film websites, and it was this passion that led him to Lumina. He put together this month's issue of Movers & Shakers and would welcome any feedback.


Executive Recruitment in the Middle East

The scale of high level appointments in Middle Eastern regions is changing, feedback suggests. A new era of executive recruitment is unfolding in the area.

Last November, a panel of industry experts who convened at London Business School’s Middle East Management Forum expressed concern over the state of executive recruitment in the area. Western expatriates do not hold the same value they used to, agreed most delegates present. 

One MD of a recruitment company in the area stated emphatically. “the age of the Western expatriate in the Middle East is over.”

But now in 2013, the perceived value of the ex-pat is returning. 

- Appointments

Matthew Anderson
Chief Marketing Officer

Alysse Bezahler
Sundance Channel
Vice President & Head of Production

Mike Darnell
Warner Brothers
President of Unscripted & Alternative Programming

Charlie Foley
Discovery Networks
Executive Vice President, Original Content

Nancy Kanter
Disney Junior
Executive Vice President, Original Programming & General Manager

David Levy
Turner Broadcasting

Nathalie Lubensky
Sony Picture Television
Senior Vice President & General Manager, Latin American Channels

Click for full list

Upturn in UK Job Market?

After a long period of uncertainty, could things be looking up in the UK job market? A survey from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation released in July paints a refreshingly positive picture. 

56% of Employers polled (of a survey of 600 across the spectrum of scale and sector) stated that they would be hiring more staff in the coming quarter.

While not exactly an explosion of opportunity, it is as director of the survey Tom Hadley states, an indication that UK businesses  “are more optimistic about the future than they were 12 months ago.” This can only be a positive for recruiters and candidates alike.

Combine this with statistics from the simultaneously released Office for National Statistics numbers though, and it makes for a even brighter outlook. Read on for details.

EMEA & Asia-Pacific
- Appointments

Peter Andrews
SBS – Australia
Head of Network Programming 

Hubert Boulos
DDB - Dubai
Chief Executive Officer

Jason Chau
Accenture – Singapore
Greater China Managing Director

Yana Churikova
MTV –  Russia
Launch Director

Birgit Conix
Telenet - Belgium
Chief Financial Officer

Bruno Duthoit
Orange Polska - Poland
Chief Executive Officer

Simon Fell
EBU – Switzerland
Director of Technology & Innovation

Click for full list

Mover & Shaker of the Month

Yana Churikova

Channel Launch Director & Deputy Editor-in-Chief
MTV Russia

After confirming plans for a relaunch of MTV in Russia, Viacom announced it would be undertaking a talent search for a channel manager which Lumina, in collaboration with Shtaty in Russia, was selected to conduct.

We are pleased to confirm that Yana Churikova, a multitalented Russian television personality, has been chosen to orchestrate the channel’s launch. Yana has had an illustrious history of television roles including hosting duties for Star Factory and the Eurovision Song Contest, and managerial responsibilities at Channel One and VIVA Magazine.

Viacom will be relaunching MTV Russia in October with a mix of local and global content and music  programming. This comes as a response to surveys posted by The Hollywood Reporter revealing that 90% of young Russians prefer American programming to native shows.

Lumina is confident Yana will steer the channel to success. 

Al Jazeera America Launch

On August 20th, Al Jazeera launched a channel in America. Any new channel is likely to attract some attention, but this one is interesting for a number of reasons.

The channel emerges as a result of the purchase of Al Gore’s failing news network Current TV in January, and will fall under the leadership of News veteran Kate O’Brien who comes over from ABC News after spending twenty years there.

Read full article here.

Filmmaking in Abu Dhabi

Filmed in Abu Dhabi at Lumina client TwoFour54's facilities,  Scott Derrickson’s Beware the Night will be a decidedly collaborative production, and another demonstration of the increasing appeal of filming in Abu Dhabi.

Click here to read the full article.

United Kingdom
- Appointments

Remi Abayomi
A + E Networks UK
Senior Director of Broadcast Operations

Dan Allen
Digital Animal
Managing Director of Music, Media & Entertainment

Dawn Airey
Senior Vice President, EMEA

Neil Bailey
Commercial Director

Diana Buddingh
Fremantle Media
Director of Global Entertainment

Steve Cole
Sony Pictures Television
Director of Acquisitions & Programming

Laura Franses
UK Managing Director

Dr. Paul Gerhardt
British Film Institute
Director of Education

Click for full list

Please join us on Twitter and our LinkedIn group where you can keep up to date on recent appointments, new opportunities and general industry information.
Any views expressed in this email are those of the originator and do not necessarily reflect those of this organisation.

Lumina is a specialist Search practice, operating exclusively in media & entertainment. We handle Senior Executive appointments, both permanent & interim, up to Board level. Part of The Searchlight Group (

If you or someone you know has moved recently, or to give us some feedback, please write to For further details about any of the above, please contact Anne Fenton at

Newsletter Editor - Matthew Turner, Research Coordinator - Lumina Search