Francois de Brugada, the long-running boss of Banijay France, will be stepping down in September to lead FL Entertainment’s newly created division dedicated to live events.
Named Banijay Events, the division will build on Banijay’s parent company FL Entertainment’s recent investment in The Independents, a global marketing and communications group for luxury and lifestyle brands, as well as Banijay’s acquisition of Balich Wonder Studio, the Italian entertainment group.
FL Entertainment said Banijay will be able to seize opportunities within the live event industry as it “remains largely unconsolidated and has a business model very similar to that of content production and distribution.” Banijay reached €3.2 billion ($3.5 billion) in revenues for 2022.
François Riahi, CEO at FL Entertainment, pointed out the “live events business has rapidly soared post-Covid and given our already-established entertainment assets. It represents a perfect addition to our Group and to our strategy to become an integrated global entertainment leader.”
Riahi said the division will be “capitalizing” on the company’s “entrepreneurial production/distribution model.” The new offering will be part of FL Entertainment’s global content production and distribution operations, led by Banijay’s CEO Marco Bassetti.
Bassetti, meanwhile, said this diversification into live events marks a “real gear shift for the group.” “Banijay Events launches with a solid base thanks to the recently announced investments, and from here, there are so many opportunities for further collaboration and onward global growth,” Bassetti continued.
Bassetti added that the appointment of de Brugada, a “key player in Banijay’s journey,” at the helm of this new arm “marks a significant commitment to the live events business.”
De Brugada, who has served as CEO of Banijay France since 2015 and has boosted its unscripted and scripted offering over the years, said “joining FLE to lead Banijay Events” is like “going back to the early years of Banijay; but this time with two major players already onboard.”
“There are many similarities between Banijay and the events production business, and I have no doubt, that in blending the two experiences, we can establish a healthy footing in the market, as was done in the audiovisual space,” the executive continued.
Under de Brugada’s helm, Banijay France has built a network of 15 labels and a local catalogue of almost 3,000 hours of premium content each year. He joined Banijay at its inception in 2008 and worked closely with its chairman, Stéphane Courbit, to support the banner’s initial international expansion ambitions across France, Spain, the US, Nordics, Germany and Australia.
De Brugada will be remaining in place until at least September to ensure a smooth transition period. Recruitment is underway to find a replacement CEO for Banijay France. Variety