Monday, March 3, 2014

BREAKING. Joel Churcher is BBC Worldwide's new general manager for Africa in a newly created role to oversee BBC's commercial expansion.

In a very significant development for South Africa and Africa Joel Churcher will become the new country and continental manager for South Africa and Africa for BBC Worldwide from April.

Joel Churcher has been appointed as vice president and general manager for Africa at BBC Worldwide, following the announcement in November that BBC Worldwide is looking to appoint a person locally in South Africa to oversee BBC Worldwide's business expansion.

BBC Worldwide is responsible for a bouquet of pay-TV channels such as BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Knowledge and CBeebies on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV platform.

Major changes are coming to this BBC Worldwide portfolio which will definitely have an impact on the South African and African market as well this year and in 2015, although those specific changes and the implementation are not clear yet.

The appointment of Joel Churcher is the second general manager appointment at BBC Worldwide inside the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region in which South Africa falls.

Joel Churcher's appointment signals BBC Worldwide's importance of South Africa and the African continent as an earmarked growth region for television and pay-TV. Joel Churcher will be based in Johannesburg.

Fox International Channels (FIC) sent Alessesandro Tucci to Johannesburg as general manager for South Africa and Africa in 2011 to oversee FIC and FIC Africa's growing expansion locally.

Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) which runs a number of channels from MTV Base to Comedy Central Africa, Nickelodeon and others is expanding its brands' presence from Johannesburg under senior vice president and director, Alex Okosi.

Joel Churcher has been account director for BBC Worldwide Channels across the EMEA region.

He will now be responsible from April for strategy and business development across all BBC Worldwide businesses in the region, and will oversee live events and the daily management of the BBC branded channels portfolio on DStv. He will be reporting directly to Ian McDonough, BBC Worldwide's executive president for the CEMA region.

"Joel is an outstanding executive who has a deep passion for our business in Africa," says Ian McDonough in a statement announcing the appointment. "He is the right person to build on the successful BBC business we have already established in Africa and take it to the next level".

"I am extremely excited about taking up this role," says Joel Churcher in the same statement. "Things are changing at a very fast pace in Africa, boasting 6 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world. I am sure that working in such a fast paced and vibrant continent will be an incredible adventure".

"I am very much looking forward to leading and developing our footprint on the continent and working with new business partners in new markets," says Joel Churcher.