RTÉ Television boss Glen Killane leaves for Eir

Telecoms group appoints senior Montrose executive as MD of Eir TV and Eir Sport

RTÉ Television managing director Glen Killane who is leaving for Eir TV and Eir Sport

RTÉ Television managing director Glen Killane who is leaving for Eir TV and Eir Sport

 

Eir has appointed senior RTÉ executive Glen Killane as managing director of Eir TV and Eir Sport, the new name for Setanta Sports.

Mr Killane has been managing director of RTÉ Television and a member of the executive board of the public service broadcaster since 2010. He was previously its group head of sport for six years. In that role, he was responsible for RTÉ’s sports rights negotiations.

Mr Killane was a candidate for the post of RTÉ director-general earlier this year and his departure from RTÉ follows the appointment of Dee Forbes, former managing director of Discovery Networks Northern Europe, to the top job.

It also comes two days after Eir’s announcement that it was the successful bidder for the rights to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, at the expense of RTÉ and TV3.

Mr Killane will head up the company’s television business including Eir Sport, as well as all sports-related sponsorships.

The telecoms company has about 50,000 customers on its television platform Eir TV, previously known as eVision. It hopes the acquisition of Setanta Sports, announced last December, will increase its share of the market and encourage customers to sign up to higher-priced product bundles.

Jon Florsheim, managing director of Eir’s consumer division, said Mr Killane would “drive the development and implementation of our ambitious strategy” and that the appointment was proof that Eir was “serious about this mission”.

Mr Killane has been at RTÉ for 18 of the past 20 years, first joining RTÉ Sport in 1996 as series editor of the Sunday Game, Rugby World Cup, Champions League and football internationals. He originally trained as a television producer and director at the BBC and was editor of live football at ITV Digital between 2001 and 2002.

More recently, he oversaw RTÉ’s 1916 centenary project and the launch of the children’s channel RTÉjr, while his time as managing director of RTÉ Television produced one of the broadcaster’s biggest drama hits in Love/Hate.

RTÉ employees were informed of his departure on Thursday. Mr Killane told staff it had been “a huge privilege to lead RTÉ Television over the past six years, to serve the Irish audience and to work with such a talented and dedicated group of people”.

He also said he was proud of its achievements “in the most testing financial environment”.

Ms Forbes takes up her position on Monday. Kevin Bakhurst, RTÉ’s managing director of news and current affairs, has been serving as acting director-general since the departure of Noel Curran in May. Mr Bakhurst was also a candidate for the director-general role.

The now vacant position of managing director of RTÉ Television, the broadcaster’s largest division, will be hotly contested. RTÉ One controller Adrian Lynch and RTÉ head of sport Ryle Nugent are likely to be among the internal candidates, while the role can also be expected to attract a wide field of external applicants.

Screen Producers Ireland, which represents independent production companies, congratulated Mr Killane on his appointment and said the SPI had developed an “excellent working relationship” with RTÉ during his tenure.

“We will continue to work closely with RTÉ Television to the benefit of the independent production sector and the public service broadcaster,” said SPI chief executive Barbara Galavan.

RTÉ is due to publish its annual report for 2015 shortly. It is the current year, however, that is proving to be a particularly expensive one for the broadcaster, with the 1916 commemorations, the general election, Euro 2016 and the Olympics all burning big holes in its budget.

RTÉ sub-licensed some of its Euro 2016 rights to TV3 in order to recoup some money. But it has also been affected by wobbles in the advertising market and a persistently high licence fee evasion rate, both of which may oblige Ms Forbes to draw up new cost-saving measures in the months ahead.