Banijay Americas has promoted Ben Samek to CEO, replacing Cris Abrego who remains chairman of the Americas for Banijay.
Samek, who has served as President and COO since 2018, will now oversee the company’s independent production studios across two continents.
As chairman, Abrego will focus on acquisitions and new business ventures.
Banijay America is the holding company that oversees the group’s ten production companies in North and South America, which includes Bunim/Murray Productions, Truly Original and 51 Minds Entertainment.
Samek joined Endemol USA in 2014 as chief operating officer and transitioned to COO of Endemol Shine North America in 2015. Promoted to president and COO for Endemol Shine North America in January 2018, Samek then expanded his areas of oversight to include the Banijay companies in the US and Latin America when Banijay acquired Endemol Shine Group in 2020.
Previously, he held the role of COO at 51 Minds Entertainment, where he worked closely with Abrego, its co-founder, to help grow the unscripted studio.
Banijay Americas multi-genre content portfolio includes LEGO Masters, MasterChef, The Men Who Built America, Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love is Blind Brazil.
“When I decided to step down as CEO, I knew Ben was the ideal person to take the reins as chief executive of Banijay Americas. He has been a key partner to me for more than two decades and I know him to be an extraordinary and results-driven leader with the experience and relationships to drive success both domestically and internationally,” said Abrego. “It is an honour to step into this role, especially at a moment of accelerated evolution for the entertainment industry and Banijay Americas,” said Samek. “There are tremendous opportunities ahead for our business and I am inspired daily by the extraordinary talent and expertise of our team. I am grateful to Cris, who has been a mentor and friend for many years, and I look forward to the work ahead.”
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