Mecom picks Endemol commercial head for chief

Tom Toumazis, the chief commercial officer of television production company Endemol has been appointed head of Mecom, the pan-European newspaper group, following a search process that has taken more than six months.

Mr Toumazis is expected to join the group in August when Stephen Davidson, currently executive chairman, will become non-executive chairman.

Mecom has been without a chief executive since David Montgomery, the group’s founder and former chief executive, was ousted by rebel shareholders in January.

Mr Montgomery had indicated to Mecom’s board that he wished to stay on as chief executive but Legal & General and Aviva threatened to call an extraordinary general meeting if he did not step down.

Mr Toumazis has spent most of his career in the media industry and held positions in companies including Emap and Walt Disney.

“Mecom . . . has considerable potential to develop its multimedia platforms and build strong digital revenues and I am excited to be given the opportunity to lead the company,” he said.

Before joining Endemol, Mr Toumazis spent seven years as managing director of Disney-ABC ESPN Television for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Canada.

At Endemol he was responsible for expanding the distribution business and global sales. At Disney, he oversaw licensing and distribution for shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, and High School Musical and Hannah Montana, the successful children’s franchises.

The board of Mecom rejected an informal approach from a consortium of Dutch banks in March proposing to take a controlling stake in the newspaper publisher’s core Dutch operations.

Rabobank, ING and ABN Amro approached Mecom proposing that it sell close to 50 per cent of its stake in Wegener, the group’s Dutch subsidiary and the largest publisher of regional daily newspapers in the Netherlands.

The group’s core Dutch division is comprised of Wegener, which is 86 per cent owned by Mecom, and Limburg Media group, which is a wholly owned Mecom business. As part of the banks’ proposals Wegener would merge with Limburg group.

Wegener generates almost 80 per cent of Mecom’s operating profits and half of total advertising and circulation revenue.

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