SA’s new FOX boss gone

2015-04-08 17:00

Cape Town – In a shock move Hannelie Bekker is out at FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa), where she was the new managing director, after just five months.

FOX International Channels Africa is quiet about the exit of Bekker, with no announcement, statement or notification about the highly respected TV executive whose last day at FIC Africa's office in Johannesburg, according to sources, was last Tuesday at the end of March.

Bekker, an experienced, highly skilled and extremely talented TV executive was appointed as the new managing director of FOX International Channels Africa (FIC) in November 2014 and replaced Alessandro Tucci.

Bekker's appointment at the end of 2014 for which she relocated from Kenya back to South Africa, signaled a massive upscaling and appointment coup for FIC Africa and its regionalised pay-TV business in South African and the rest of the African continent.

At Sony Television's upfront last Wednesday in Johannesburg the primary topic of conversation under journalists, ad executives, media buyers and TV executives was Bekker's sudden exit and the silence from FOX International Channels Africa about it.

There's been no word from FIC Africa and FIC Africa marketing executive Khosi Khanyile about Bekker, nor whether who will replace her in the position of managing director – if anybody.

Just a month ago, on 10 February, FIC Africa had a hugely successful FOX upfront and press day to showcase the premium upcoming shows secured for the FOX and FOX Crime TV channels.

Bekker took South African TV critics through a smooth and pitch-presentation of FOX's upcoming programming with sizzle reels and took questions from the press afterwards in a wide-ranging Q&A session.

Bekker's sudden and unexpected exit after just 5 months – and FIC Africa's silence to communicate the top executive change and the reasons for it – is odd and surprising given FIC Africa's commitment to the press regarding communicating programming information and corporate changes.

Bekker leaving is a huge loss for FIC Africa, not just due to the TV executive's real experience, skill and TV industry standing, but also for the perceived cache her appointment signaled about FIC Africa to South Africa's pay-TV business industry.

Whoever is appointed next as FIC Africa managing director – if anyone – it’s unlikely that FIC International will be able to find someone locally with the years of TV experience, pay-TV acumen and vast list of established business contacts and professional relationships Bekker instantly brought to FIC Africa.

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