Chris Oliver-Taylor.

FremantleMedia Australia (FMA) has named Chris Oliver-Taylor as its new CEO, succeeding Ian Hogg.

The MD of NBCUniversal-owned Matchbox Pictures since 2011, Oliver-Taylor will take the helm of FMA later this year as it ramps up its commitment to high-end drama following Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Hogg stepped down at the end of January after nine years with the company. Hogg also ran FremantleMedia’s Asia Pacific operations, which are now being overseen by its London HQ.

Matt Vitins, Matchbox Pictures’ director of business affairs and a member of the executive team, will take on the role of interim MD.

Vitins has handled business affairs across the development, financing and production of scripted and unscripted projects at Matchbox for the last three years.

Oliver-Taylor, who will join the FremantleMedia operating board, tells IF: “This is an exciting opportunity, one that does not come along very often. I’m delighted to be a part of a global family. It’s a great company with great credentials and a great history.

“I am ready for the new challenge. I couldn’t be more excited about the many creative partnerships and possibilities that lie ahead across Australia, New Zealand and internationally.”

FremantleMedia Group CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz said: “Chris is one of Australia’s most admired and dynamic television executives with an outstanding reputation for delivering impactful scripted and unscripted entertainment that plays brilliantly in Australia and around the world. I am delighted to have attracted someone of his calibre and passion to lead our Australian operation.”

Among the series commissioned during Oliver-Taylor’s tenure at Matchbox are Secret City, Devil’s Playground and The Real Housewives franchise for Foxtel; Glitch, Seven Types of Ambiguity and Barracuda for the ABC; Wanted and Formal Wars for the Seven Network; Hyde & Seek for Nine; Underground for Ten; and Safe Harbour, The Family Law and Date My Race for SBS.

Matchbox won the Screen Producers Australia award for production company of the year three times, most recently last year.

“We would like to thank Chris for his sterling efforts in growing Matchbox over the last seven years and wish him every success for the future,” the company said.

Oliver-Taylor began his career at the BBC in London, working on such shows as Top of the Pops, The Generation Game, Match of the Day and Westminster Live.

After moving to Australia in 2000 he joined the ABC, working in a number of roles across drama, entertainment and comedy. In 2005 he was appointed as the ABC’s head of production.

Last week FMA announced it has optioned Richard Flanagan’s acclaimed novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Oliver-Taylor said FMA’s drive into high-end drama is one of the attractions of the job and he looks forward to working with FMA director of drama Jo Porter.

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