I can exclusively break the news and reveal that Pierre Cloete, director of the M-Net, M-Net Series and M-Net Movies channels has resigned and will be leaving M-Net at the end of June after 18 years at the South African pay-TV broadcaster.
It's a big loss for M-Net, and Pierre Cloete's resignation will come as a shock to many in South Africa's TV industry.
The highly respected Pierre Cloete, well-liked not just inside Randburg but also by the South African TV industry, has a vast knowledge of the pay-TV business as well as a deep understanding of the television industrial complex and television content creation business.
I was told that Pierre Cloete is leaving for Ericsson South Africa, heading up a newly formed content and media division at their offices in Woodmead, Johannesburg.
Pierre Cloete is the second director leaving M-Net following the appointment of Yolisa Phahle as new CEO of M-Net South Africa in April. M-Net announced in April that Biola Alabi, M-Net Africa's managing director for special projects is leaving to study at Yale University. She is not returning to M-Net.
Pierre Cloete who started his TV career in South Africa as a promo producer for Rapid Blue on the SuperSport account joined SuperSport in 1996.
In 2006 he became M-Net's marketing manager for local productions and in 2008 his portfolio increased to include the marketing of M-Net's international programming, as well as the then TV-channels, M-Net Movies 1 and M-Net Movies 2. From there he became channel head of M-Net and M-Net HD in 2009.
In April 2012 Pierre Cloete was appointed as M-Net director for movie channels, overseeing the set of successful M-Net Movies channels supplied to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.
His job description then expanded to include oversight of the M-Net branded channels as director of M-Net, the set of 3 M-Net Series channels and the set of 8 M-Net Movies channels.
During his time at M-Net Pierre Cloete was involved in the much-loved "Stand Up for the Champions" campaign for SuperSport, created the award-winning "Tooth Fairy", "Super heroes" and "Magic Studios" campaigns as well as the marketing launch of SuperSport 3.
Recent M-Net viewership TV hits like MasterChef South Africa and Survivor South Africa: Champions were created during his tenure.
"It was a personal decision to expand my career and venture into something new," says Pierre Cloete. "I loved my time with M-Net and I am very proud of the channels and shows that we have produced. I leave behind a strong team capable of taking M-Net into the future".
"Pierre has played a valuable role in launching and establishing the M-Net channels," says Yolisa Phahle, CEO for M-Net South Africa. "We thank him for his contribution and wish him every success with his new venture at Ericsson".