News | RTL Group | Potsdam/London, 09/20/2023

Change In Leadership At The Helm Of UFA

Fremantle has appointed Sascha Schwingel as the new CEO of UFA. He assumes his new role with immediate effect, also joining Fremantle's Global Leadership Team, and now reports to Andrea Scrosati, Fremantle's Group COO and CEO Continental Europe. Schwingel succeeds Nico Hofmann, who becomes Chairman of UFA.

A change in leadership is taking place at UFA: Fremantle, RTL Group's global content business, has appointed Sascha Schwingel as the new CEO of UFA, one of the leading producers for TV and streaming content in the German-speaking market and part of Fremantle's global network. Based in Berlin and reporting to Group COO and CEO Continental Europe Andrea Scrosati, Sascha Schwingel will join Fremantle’s Global Leadership Team and begins his new position with immediate effect.

Sascha Schwingel succeeds Nico Hofmann, who now becomes Chairman of UFA. Nico also remains closely connected to RTL Group's parent company Bertelsmann, as an advisory board member of the Liz Mohn Center. Nico Hofmann, who has been CEO of UFA since 2017, has had a long career at the company – beginning in 1998 when he set up Teamworx (now UFA Fiction). Over the years, he has achieved national and international success for his work, including an International Emmy for “Generation War” and the series “Deutschland 83,” which was the first German-language drama to air on a U.S. network. Today, UFA produces for almost all German TV channels and global streaming platforms that are active in the national market. UFA's programs reach an average of over 30 million viewers weekly (H1 2023).

‘An experienced and highly talented successor’

As the new CEO of UFA, Sascha Schwingel will have oversight and strategic direction of all aspects of the business. This includes the production output of its four main divisions UFA Fiction, UFA Serial Drama, UFA Show and Factual, and UFA Documentary, alongside key corporate functions. Sascha is a seasoned media executive who was most recently Deputy Chief Content Officer at RTL Deutschland. Prior to this, he was CEO of the RTL Group-owned TV channel Vox (2019-2022), where he led the channel to become one of the top three German commercial private broadcasters in the target group. Sascha started his career at Teamworx (now UFA Fiction), where he produced several programs such as “Die Sturmflut,” “Dresden,” and “Die Hindenburg.” In 2014 he moved to ARD Degeto, where he was also responsible for award-winning programs such as “Babylon Berlin” and “The Barschel Case” as Head of Production & Program Management.

“After 26 years with Bertelsmann and eight years at the helm of UFA I have decided, together with Jennifer Mullin and Andrea Scrosati, to pass on the leadership of UFA,” said Nico Hoffmann. “In Sascha, who is a friend and colleague for many years, we have found an experienced and highly talented successor. With great creative energy, Sascha has pursued a successful career at our subsidiary Teamworx, at public broadcaster ARD and at RTL Deutschland – evolving as an intelligent manager with a strong reputation in the creative scene. Thank you to Jennifer for her warm and cooperative support, to Andrea for his curiosity and openness in appointing Sascha as my successor and to RTL Group and Bertelsmann for a great understanding of creative entrepreneurship – something I have been lucky to experience over all these years. UFA is my pride and joy, a great production company with a great team. With Sascha and the commitment from Fremantle I have high hopes for the future – a future where I am happy to take on the role of Chairman.”

‘A huge privilege’

Sascha Schwingel said: “Becoming CEO of UFA is a huge privilege. I began my career at UFA Fiction-label Teamworx and spent 15 exciting years with UFA, so to take this role now feels like coming home to me. I would like to thank Nico for all the great foundations he has laid, as well as Jennifer and Andrea for the trust and I look forward to building on this success with the team.”

Jennifer Mullin, Group CEO of Fremantle, comments: “I would like to personally thank Nico for his hard work and commitment to UFA for the past 26 years. With him at the helm, UFA has maintained its position as a leading German media company and a vital part of the Fremantle Group. We are delighted he will become Chairman and stay within the Fremantle family. At the same time, I am so pleased to welcome Sascha back to the business and look forward to working with him to shape and drive UFA’s future.” 

Andrea Scrosati, Group COO and CEO Continental Europe at Fremantle, adds: “Sascha is an innovative, creative and savvy leader, and a great choice to lead UFA into the future. UFA plays a huge part in the success of Fremantle globally, as a true portfolio business which produces hit after hit across all genres. I look forward to working closely with Sascha and his management team as we build on past successes to create an extremely strong and globally appealing business. I am also honored to have the opportunity to work with and draw from Nico’s vast experience, with him now in place as Chairman.”