Sky Network Television has hired veteran British media executive Martin Stewart as chief executive to oversee its shift from a traditional satellite pay-TV broadcaster to a multi-platform entertainment business.
The company is reshaping its business as new customer appetite for on-demand streaming services has dented its subscriber numbers in recent years. Stewart’s appointment seeks to draw on his most recent experience as CEO of Dubai-based OSN where he oversaw the introduction of a new online platform and focused on improving the firm’s digital infrastructure.
He was chief financial officer at BSkyB in the UK between 1998 and 2004 when the media firm doubled its subscriber base, and has strong sporting credentials from his time as CFO of the Football Association and as a board member of the London organising committee for the Olympic and Paralympic games.
“We conducted an extensive global search for the right person to lead Sky, and had a strong field of candidates to select from,” chair Peter Macourt said in a statement. “Martin’s experience, his leadership skills and his strong understanding of the opportunities and challenges of our sector made him a stand-out choice.”
Stewart starts on Feb. 21 and will be paid a base salary of $1.5 million with short- and long-term incentives of an additional 50 percent at the board’s discretion. He will receive 200,000 shares for no consideration on the first four anniversaries of employment.
That compares to long-serving CEO John Fellet’s $1.4 million base salary. Including incentives, Fellet’s pay was $1.98 million in the year ended June.
Fellet will remain a board member once he steps back from day-to-day management.
Macourt has said he would start planning for his own replacement once the new CEO has settled in.
Sky shares last traded at $2.30, having recovered somewhat from a trough of $2.09 last month.