BBC Names Australian Head

Jon Penn will assume the role of managing director of BBC Worldwide Australasia in April, leaving his post as chief executive officer Asia Pacific at FremantleMedia Enterprises.

The move is part of BBC Worldwide’s new strategic goal to increase its regional focus. Penn succeeds the group’s interim general manager Blair McQuade, who has been appointed to the new role of chief commercial officer for Australasia. McQuade will support Penn when he takes over the division this spring, as well as be responsible for the business’ commercial activities.

With Penn’s appointment the responsibilities of the managing director position have been expanded to include ownership of the region’s profits and losses, also a part of the BBC’s new regional strategy.

Australia and New Zealand are important markets for BBC Worldwide and both have seen significant growth over the last five years, with a 9 percent increase in revenue in the 2011/12 alone. The division has seen particular success in live events, with 100,000 people expected to attend one of five BBC Worldwide live events this year.

“I’m really pleased that Jon has decided to take up our challenge as MD of Australasia, a role that will have increased responsibility in BBC Worldwide’s new organizational structure,” says Marcus Arthur, president, the U.K. and Australasia, BBC Worldwide. “His strategic influence across so many platforms, properties and brands at FremantleMedia is impressive, not least because of the outstanding commercial growth he’s drawn from them. I know he’s the right person to lead BBC Worldwide Australasia on to bigger and even better things as the region takes charge of its own P&L for the first time.”

Penn founded FME’s brand licensing and interactive media division in Australia in 2001 and later expanded to include the rest of Asia Pacific. He was particularly instrumental in turning MasterChef Australia into a multi-million dollar, multi-platform brand. Penn was promoted to chief executive officer, FME Asia Pacific, in 2009.

Prior to FME, Penn worked for Fairfax Media’s digital division, Fairfax Digital, and has held a variety of other sales, marketing and business development roles over his 22-year career.