Malcom Wall, the former chief executive for content at Virgin Media, has been appointed chief executive of Abu Dhabi Media.
The state-owned group counts among its many assets TV and radio channels, publications, a stake in the online music service Vevo, and the regional broadcast rights for the English Premier League.
Mr Wall will take up the position on 1 September, and succeeds Ed Borgerding who ran ADM from March 2008 until February 2011. Following his departure, corporate rebranding and redundancies - aimed at making the UAE media company more commercially viable - have been overseen by caretaker CEO Frank Mooty.
Mr Wall was responsible for the US$1.5 billion Virgin Media television business; including the Virgin Media portal and three television channel groups until 2009. Living TV, UKTV and Sit Up Television were all under his remit.
Among other non-executive positions, Mr Wall has since been chairing the London-based Harlequins Rugby Union Club - for which he used to play – following the so-called ‘Bloodgate’ scandal where players were using blood capsules to facilitate illegal substitutions.
"Malcolm is a heavy hitter who we are delighted to have attracted to ADM," said Mohamed al Mazrouei, the chairman of Abu Dhabi Media. "He brings a wealth of senior operational experience in advertising sales, broadcasting and content as well as distribution.”
Alluding to Mr Wall’s time as chief executive of United Business Media, Mr Al Mazrouei continued: “He has worked globally within the print, research and news distribution sectors. We are confident that he will take Abu Dhabi Media to new levels, maximising our commercial potential and public service excellence.”
Speaking about his appointment, Mr Wall told his new company’s daily newspaper, The National: "I am excited about the prospects for ADM's existing businesses and the new opportunities serving our local audiences and the region.”
Abu Dhabi Media was established (as Abu Dhabi Media Company) in 2007, and owns 20 media brands encompassing free and pay TV, TV, radio, publishing, digital media, games, music, movies, outside broadcasting and printing.
ADM also holds the broadcast rights to the English Premier League across the Middle East and North Africa until May 2013. The three year deal, which commenced in autumn 2010, reportedly cost the government-owned ADM between GBP150 million and GBP200 million.
Although some AD Sports channels are available free-to-air across the Arab world, those carrying Premier League football have so far only been available by online subscription, or via limited terrestrial pay-TV platforms in the Gulf, including those operated by Etisalat and Du in the UAE; Qtel in Qatar; Nuetel in Bahrain; and STC in Saudi Arabia.