Effectively immediately, Sky’s UK and Ireland operations will report directly into the Comcast-owned group’s CEO, Dana Strong.
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Van Rooyen has been with Sky for nearly two decades, rising through the ranks to become UK and Ireland chief exec in 2016. He was a key part of several major products launches, such as streamer Now, Sky On-Demand, Sky Mobile and the next-gen Sky Glass TV sets.
“I would like to thank Stephen for his very significant contribution to Sky over the past 18 years,” said Strong. “He has played an instrumental role in developing and building our brand, developing and launching our products, taking our UK business into new markets, leading our people and ensuring our customers are at the heart of everything we do. He has delivered significant growth for our company and leaves an impressive legacy of achievements. Together with all of my colleagues, we wish him well for the future.”
Van Rooyen added: “I have taken the decision that now is the right time for me to leave Sky. The business today has everything it needs to compete to win. We have strong leadership, led by Dana, a world-class team, and a fantastic plan. I would like to thank every one of my colleagues for the support I’ve received and the commitment they make to Sky. It has been a real privilege, and I will always be Sky’s biggest supporter.”
Van Rooyen had expanded his role in 2020 to take responsibility for Sky’s operations in Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland, but a Sky spokesperson clarified he had more recently dropped these duties and was solely CEO for the UK and Ireland.
Rumors continue that both the German and Italian businesses could be sold, but nothing concrete has emerged after months of chatter. Last year, Strong told an industry audience “Germany’s got a lot of potential” and added the appointment of Barny Mills was CEO was evidence of commitment.
In the UK, among the biggest challenges for Strong is whether Sky can hold on to HBO’s content after the current agreement with Warner Bros Discovery runs out in 2025. Its long been rumored WBD will look to launch its Max service in the UK once the rights revert, but U.S. media’s recent return to content licensing has led to speculation Sky could land another multi-year agreement.
Comcast bought Sky in 2018 for $40B in what remains among the biggest ever deals for a UK media business.
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