Showtime's new president and CEO poached from Canal Plus

Showtime has raided European pay-TV operator Canal Plus Nordic for its new president and CEO.

The Dubai-based network, which last month secured exclusive rights to broadcast English Premiership football from next August, has appointed Marc-Antoine d'Halluin to its top job.

D'Halluin replaces Peter Einstein, who quit the post in August after more than ten years in the job, in what Showtime described as an 'amicable' split. He remains in the region until the end of the year, working with Showtime in an advisory role.

In a statement, Showtime said D'Halluin was selected for the role because of his vast experience in the pay-TV sector. In addition to Canal Plus Nordic, which broadcasts in the Scandinavia region, he has previously held positions with Fox Kids and Sony Pictures.

D'Halluin said he was excited by the challenge ahead at Showtime. "Pay-TV is an industry I am passionate about and I'm confident Showtime Arabia can achieve world-class results by delivering the best combination of entertainment for all the family as recently demonstrated by the successful acquisition of the Premier League football rights to complement the best movies and series."

Faisal Al Ayar, chairman of Showtime, said: "We are delighted to welcome an executive of Marc-Antoine's calibre to Showtime.

He brings with him extensive experience from the pay-TV sector, which I am certain will be of great benefit to the business".

Among D'Halluin's initial tasks will be to prepare Showtime for Premiership football next season. Thousands of subscribers are expected to migrate to the network in time for the start of the new season in August 2007. Advertisers are likely to follow suit.

Showtime screens hit shows such as Desperate Housewives and Lost.

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