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SBD Global/January 12, 2017/People and Pop Culture

Executive Transactions

World Surf League co-Owner & Chair PAUL SPEAKER decided to step down from his CEO position at the end of the month. Speaker, however, will continue to be a co-owner of the competition and will work with the ownership group and board of directors to ensure a smooth transition until a new CEO has been found. WSL co-Owner DIRK ZIFF will take on the role of interim CEO for the time being (WSL). ... Russia's Gazprom-Media has appointed KATERINA VESELKOVA the general director of its sales house. In her new role she will be "responsible for strategic planning and ad sales opportunities, as well as sponsorship," for the group's TV channels NTV, Match TV, TNR, TV-3, Friday!, TNT4 and 2×2, as well as those from its sub-holding Match (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 1/11). ... IMG has promoted ADAM KELLY to head of global sales for IMG Media. In his new role as SVP, worldwide sales, effective immediately, Kelly will continue to report to WME | IMG co-President IORIS FRANCINI. Kelly previously led EMEA sales and worldwide business development. He played a key role in IMG's recent long-term joint venture with Euroleague and will continue to be involved in the project going forward. He is involved in a number of other relationships, including IMG's consultancy with the IOC, the recent acquisition of UFC and the global expansion of broadcast rights for World Snooker and action sports, including IMG's fully-owned 24/7 action sports channel EDGEsport (IMG). ... The West Indies Cricket Board announced that Englishman JOHNNY GRAVE will "take up the position" of CEO from February. Grave replaces MICHAEL MUIRHEAD in the post, following the Jamaican's decision to step down last October, and was appointed following what the regional governing body described as "a rigorous recruitment process." Grave is currently employed with the Professional Cricketers' Association in the U.K. where he spent the last nine years as commercial director (IANS, 1/10). ... Eurosport Digital named NBA SVP/Global Media Distribution ALEX KAPLAN exec VP/commercial, where he will be responsible for pricing and packaging, marketing, media buying and sponsorships. He will report to Discovery Chief Commercial Officer PAUL GUYARDO, who worked with Kaplan at DirecTV. Kaplan will be based in Discovery’s N.Y. office initially. Kaplan was named to SBJ/SBD's "Forty Under 40" class in '13 (John Ourand, Staff Writer). ... Univision Communications promoted interim Head of Corporate Communications ROSEMARY MERCEDES to exec VP & Chief Communications Officer. She will report to Univision President & CEO RANDY FALCO (VARIETY, 1/10). ... Formula 1's "winter of change continued on Wednesday" with Renault and Team Principal FREDERIC VASSEUR "parting company" a day after champion Mercedes announced the departure of Technical Dir PADDY LOWE. Renault said that the split with Vasseur "was by mutual consent” (REUTERS, 1/11).

COACHES/MANAGERS: Trinidad and Tobago's senior men's national football team head coach TOM SAINTFIET resigned on Wednesday. The Belgian "took up the position" on Dec. 7 following the dismissal of STEPHEN HART (TRINIDAD EXPRESS, 1/11). ... JERRY STEELE is the new head coach of South Sudan's men's national basketball team, the country's basketball federation confirmed on Tuesday. The governing body of basketball in the world's newest country said that the U.S.-based coach has signed an agreement through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (FIBA). ... Ligue 2 side Red Star named CLAUDE ROBIN manager. Robin, 56, played 17 years at the top level before his coaching career. MANUEL PIRÈS, who had maintained the position as interim manager, was named assistant coach (Red Star). ... Ligue 2 side AJ Auxerre named JEAN-PIERRE PAPIN its new manager as well as sporting director. Papin arrived at AJA in October as an advisor to “provide his expertise” to the club’s new Chinese owners (L’ÉQUIPE, 1/11).

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