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Disney Channel EMEA Gets New Exec VP; Hardie Out

Giorgio Stock has been promoted to exec VP and managing director, Disney Channels, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and will lead The Walt Disney Company's portfolio of kid-focused, family inclusive television channels including Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney, Disney XD and Cinemagic, in the territory. He will also serve as a Disney representative on the board of SRTL, Disney's joint venture with RTL Group.

Stock, who joined Disney in 1997, has been SVP and GM, Disney Channels Italy, since 2005. He will relocate from Milan to London and will report to Diego Lerner, president, The Walt Disney Company, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

John Hardie, who has been with the company since 2001, has accepted a position as CEO of U.K.-based news organization ITN, supplier of news to ITV and Channel 4, according to VARIETY.

He will depart the company in June. An announcement regarding the new Senior Vice President and General Manager, Disney Channel Italy, will also be made shortly.

In his new role, Stock will have strategic oversight of all Disney Channels operations across the EMEA territory with Channels offices in London, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome and Stockholm. Disney Channels in the portfolio can be seen in 94 countries in the EMEA region.

Under Stock's leadership Disney Channel Italy ranked as the #1 kids channel in the Italian pay TV market in 2008 while the Disney Multiplex, which also comprises Toon Disney and Playhouse Disney, ranked as the leading provider of kids entertainment.

He also built the channel's revenue and operating income from the record-high previous year and helped broker a number of ground-breaking digital distribution deals (online, mobile and, most recently, pay-Digital Terrestrial Television) which increased Disney Channel Italy's distribution to nearly six million homes.

As part of his effort he led local and global short-form content development and production for Disney Channel including BRIAN O'BRIAN, LIFE BITES (which also airs on free-to-air partner Italia 1) and the hit short-form series QUELLI DELL'INTERVALLO, which has generated 12 localized versions around the world. He also initiated a music and talent strategy that includes the development of local recording artist and actor Jacopo Sarno and maximized Disney Channel franchises including HANNAH MONTANA and HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL across multiple Disney businesses in Italy. In addition, Stock led the launch of Disney Channel Turkey and expansion plans in Greece and Cyprus.

From 1997-2005 he worked at Disney Publishing Worldwide where he was most recently VP, global licensing. His responsibilities included the global book and magazine licensing business in more than 70 markets.

Before joining Disney, Stock worked with Bertelsmann holding roles of increasing responsibility including VP, marketing, Bertelsmann/Euroclub in Milan (1993-95) and VP, corporate development, Bertelsmann AG in Germany (1992-93). His responsibilities spanned management of its various publishing affiliates in Spain, the U.S. and Italy. He started his career in corporate finance with Matuschka in Germany.

He earned a Master of Business Administration and a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University. Stock is fluent in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

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