Sky Italia’s Two Top Managers Exit Following Serie A Soccer Rights Loss

Nick Vivarelli
·2 min read

Maximo Ibarra and Nicola Maccanico, respectively managing director and programming chief at Comcast-owned Sky Italia, are exiting the pay-TV operation following its failure to secure a rights deal for Italy’s Serie A soccer league.

Ibarra, a Colombian-Italian executive with extensive telecoms experience, had been leading Sky Italia since October 2019. His expertise in that sector was considered a good fit with Sky Italia’s plans to link content and high-speed broadband service in Italy thanks to its partnership with Italian broadband operator Open Fiber. Ibarra will leave Sky at the end of July to join Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, one of Italy’s top tech firms.

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The announcement that Ibarra is stepping down from his Sky Italia post arrived via an internal memo signed by Stephen van Rooyen, executive vice president and CEO Sky U.K. and Europe, a Sky representative confirmed Wednesday. Van Rooyen will take the Sky Italia reins until a new managing director is appointed.

Ibarra’s exit follows closely after the announcement yesterday from Italy’s culture ministry that Maccanico is also leaving Sky to go run Italy’s Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, the state film entity that operates Rome’s expanding Cinecittà Studios.

In a major blow, Sky Italia in March lost out to sports streaming app DAZN in the battle for the main domestic rights to screen Italy’s Serie-A soccer championship, ending Sky’s almost two-decade reign as soccer-crazed Italy’s main Series-A broadcaster.

The company is also planning to reduce its total workforce, including contractors, by 25% under a four year re-organization plan, according to Italian unions who negotiated the cuts with Ibarra. The cuts are expected to bring savings of about €300 million ($356 million).

Sky currently employs nearly 11,000 people in Italy, including some 5,000 full-fledged staffers.

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