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Discovery ropes in Peter Hutton as Eurosport CEO

MUMBAI: Discovery Communications has named Jean-Thierry Augustin as president of sports strategy and development in a newly created position at Discovery Networks International. It also appointed Peter Hutton as CEO of Eurosport.

Augustin, who previously held the position of CEO at Eurosport, will report directly to Discovery Networks International president JB Perrette and continue to be based in Paris. Augustin will work closely with Discovery’s international leadership team and Peter Hutton, to create a compelling sports business development strategy that utilises sports as a game-changing asset and drives new growth globally.

Hutton joins Eurosport from MP & Silva Group, where he held the post of co-CEO. As CEO of Eurosport, he will oversee the negotiation of sports rights and lead Eurosport’s content strategy to bring renewed focus on programming, production, promotion and platforms. Hutton will take advantage of Discovery’s local infrastructure and global platforms to maximise Eurosport’s value across more than 70 countries and in 20 languages. He also will report to Perrette and will be based in Paris, with a start date of 1 March 2015.

Perrette said, “As we approach the one-year anniversary of Discovery’s acquisition of Eurosport in May, our focus is now on unlocking the full value of our must-have sports content for the entire Discovery Communications portfolio to benefit our advertisers, affiliates, audiences and shareholders around the world.”

Perrette continued, “Jean-Thierry has been at the helm of Eurosport for a number of years during which he has proved to be a tremendous commercial leader and this new role will harness his expertise to build Discovery’s global sports strategy and expertise. Similarly, Peter has excelled in the sports media business. With extensive experience in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and strong relationships with broadcasters and rights-holders, he is the perfect executive to strengthen Eurosport’s position as a global leader in sports. I am excited to work with both Jean-Thierry and Peter as we take our business to an exciting new level.”

In May 2014, Discovery increased its interest in Eurosport International to 51 per cent from 20 per cent as part of a larger strategic partnership with TF1 Group which began in December 2012. TF1 Group continues to be the majority shareholder of Eurosport France, in which Discovery holds a 20 per cent equity stake.

Jean-Thierry Augustin said, “It has been a privilege to lead Eurosport over the past several years. I look forward to applying my experience and working with JB and Peter to help utilise sports content to drive growth, and create long-term relationships with key partners throughout Discovery’s global business,” said Augustin.

Augustin joined Eurosport in 2001 as regional distribution director and, following various promotions, was named Eurosport Group CEO in June 2013. During this period, Augustin played a key role in the launch of Eurosport 2, which is available in 74 million homes in 51 countries and broadcasts 2,300 hours of live action every year. He also oversaw development of Europe’s topmost online sports destination, Eurosport.com, which comprises 15 websites in 11 languages, and Eurosport Player, which provides live streaming of Eurosport and Eurosport 2 channels as well as catch-up TV around selected events in 35 markets.

Peter Hutton said, “After over 30 years in sports media, I can’t think of a better brand to lead than Eurosport. I look forward to building on the great work of Jean-Thierry Augustin and his team to ensure that we further improve our line-up of world-class sports relevant to our audiences throughout Europe and Asia. With the support of the Discovery teams around the world, we will deliver the best possible global and local events to our viewers and to our commercial partners.”

During his time at MP & Silva Group, Hutton oversaw a portfolio of rights that included the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Formula 1, Grand Slam tennis and Serie A football. He helped launch joint-venture channels with Be In Sports in Asia, and took the business into the sponsorship market and key local rights, such as Belgian and Polish football. Before joining MP & Silva Group, Hutton’s previous roles included MD at ESPN Star Sports, SVP at Fox International Channels Sport, as well as founder-COO at Middle East and Asian broadcaster Ten Sports.