Chairman of the Americas for Banijay, Cris Abrego, announced that he is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of the division and elevating Ben Samek into the role. Samek, who has served as President and COO since 2018, will now oversee the company’s independent production studios across two continents, developing and producing some of the world’s biggest formats and hit series.
Abrego will stay on as Chairman of the Americas for Banijay, focusing on acquisitions and new business ventures. In line with the personnel changes, the production labels across the Americas will now be housed under the new umbrella, Banijay Americas.
“When I decided to step down as CEO, I knew Ben was the ideal person to take the reins as Chief Executive of Banijay Americas. He has been a key partner to me for more than two decades and I know him to be an extraordinary and results-driven leader with the experience and relationships to drive success both domestically and internationally. Ben cares deeply about our company, our clients, and our people. His promotion to CEO is a testament to his long list of contributions and achievements,” Abrego said.
“It is an honor to step into this role, especially at a moment of accelerated evolution for the entertainment industry and Banijay Americas. There are tremendous opportunities ahead for our business and I am inspired daily by the extraordinary talent and expertise of our team. I am grateful to Cris, who has been a mentor and friend for many years, and I look forward to the work ahead,” Samek added.
Samek joined Endemol USA in 2014 as Chief Operating Officer and transitioned to COO of Endemol Shine North America in 2015. Promoted to President and COO for Endemol Shine North America in January 2018, Samek then expanded his areas of oversight to include the Banijay companies in the United States and Latin America when Banijay acquired Endemol Shine Group in 2020.
Banijay Americas multi-genre content portfolio includes highlights like “Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls,” “LEGO Masters,” “MasterChef,” “The Men Who Built America,” “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” “Real Housewives of Potomac,” “Real Housewives of Dubai,” “Ink Master,” “Love is Blind Brasil,” “Vai Que Cola,” “La Casa de los Famosos,” “LOL Mexico,” and the “Below Deck” and “The Challenge” franchises, among others.