BBC Studios, the broadcaster’s commercial arm, has appointed its general counsel Martyn Freeman to the position of chief operating officer.
As general counsel, Freeman already oversees BBC Studio’s business and legal affairs, global operations, compliance and risk. As COO his remit will also expand to technology, transformation and property.
He will also negotiate major acquisitions and partnerships, oversee regulatory compliance across international jurisdictions and manage BBC Studio’s technology strategy.
Freeman has been general counsel for the company since its inception. Before that he was general counsel for BBC Worldwide.
BBC Studios recently appointed Tom Fussell as its permanent CEO, following his predecessor Tim Davie’s promotion to director general of the BBC. Fussell first took over from Davie in September 2020 as interim CEO. His appointment was made permanent the following October.
“This is a critical role for BBC Studios’ future and I am delighted that Martyn has agreed to take on the additional responsibility,” said BBC Studios CEO Tom Fussel in a statement. “He has overseen BBC Studios’ operational response to the pandemic, bringing his trademark calm and focus to a challenging set of circumstances for the business and its staff and ensuring that everyone has had the support they need to do their jobs. As the BBC’s commercial arm, we have recently committed to growing our returns to the BBC Group by at least 30% over the next five years, and are also working to secure our contribution beyond that for the longer term. In overseeing our operational strategy, Martyn will underpin our plans for success, by enabling teams to continue to focus on expanding our audiences and revenue.”
In a statement, Freeman added: “This is a significant time for the company and I am excited to take on the expanded role. We are driving through plans to realise new digital revenue streams, we have a new CEO at the helm and we have committed to ambitious goals to increase our returns to the BBC Group for the next five year period. I look forward to playing a key role in our continued success.”
Due to the pandemic, BBC Studio’s profits fell by 17% in 2020/21, from £181 million in 2019/20 to £151 million the following year. BBC Studios, which is the BBC’s largest commercial subsidiary, has a five-year target of delivering £1.2 billion in returns to the BBC by 2021/22, which the studio maintains it will fulfil.
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