Long-time Keshet executive Keren Shahar has been appointed CEO of Keshet International, succeeding Alon Shtruzman in the role.
Shtruzman’s departure was first announced in September. The 10-year Keshet executive will leave at the end of the year, with Shahar — who most recently served as COO and president of distribution — beginning in the CEO role on Jan. 1, 2023.
Shahar is a pioneer in selling Israeli formats abroad, and has helped to cultivate the country’s international profile for wide-traveling format IP. She first joined Keshet Media Group in 2004, and in 2006 was appointed formats manager, overseeing the sales of Keshet’s formats abroad.
Two years later, in 2008, she took on responsibility for Keshet Broadcasting’s acquisitions department, licensing formats such as “The Money Drop,” “Make Me A Baby” and “MasterChef” for local adaptations in Israel.
When Shtruzman joined as CEO of the newly established distribution arm Keshet International in 2012, Shahar was appointed to lead the company’s sales team, and after a brief time, also stepped up to take on the role of COO, becoming Shtruzman’s second in command.
During her 10-year tenure, which also involved her overseeing business and operational aspects across the company’s activities, Shahar has been responsible for the distribution of many scripted formats, such as “Prisoners of War,” which became Showtime’s multi-Emmy-winning “Homeland,” and “False Flag” and “When Heroes Fly,” which have recently been adapted as “Suspicion” and “Echo 3,” respectively, for Apple TV+. Shahar has also sold non-scripted formats such as “Boom!,” “Singletown,” “Deal With It!,” “The Hit List” and “Rising Star.”
As Keshet International CEO, Shahar will be responsible for all the company’s activities, including its network of production companies and distribution hubs, which includes Keshet International in Tel Aviv, Keshet U.K., Tresor and Keshet Tresor Fiction in Germany, Keshet Studios in the U.S., and a majority stake in Greenbird Media.
She will also be tasked with expanding Keshet International’s global production output, while also boosting its catalog of international dramas, factual entertainment shows, and formats with a view to building the distribution side of the business.
Shahar said: “Having the privilege of leading a company like Keshet International is far beyond what I could have imagined when I first started at Keshet 18 years ago. I just wanted to be around the people who ‘made television.’ I’d like to thank Alon for his mentorship and friendship, and for showing me what infinite optimism can achieve. Thank you also to the Keshet board, and to Avi in particular, for all his support and multiple votes of confidence over the years. Last but not least, I want to thank the extremely talented group of people who ‘make television’ at KI. I am looking forward to our next chapter together and seeing what we can achieve in our second decade!”
Avi Nir, Keshet Media Group CEO, was effusive in his praise for Shahar, and referenced “Echo 3,” the company’s forthcoming adaptation of “When Heroes Fly” for Apple TV+.
“Flashback to 2012 and Keshet International’s inception — standing center frame is Keren Shahar, determined to bring Israeli TV to a world that didn’t know what it was and didn’t know it needed it,” said Nir.
“Returning to 2022 as we celebrate its 10th birthday, Keshet International is now an internationally recognized name — a global-scale content, production, and distribution company with a history of challenges, successes, and achievements — all with Keren as its deputy CEO. I’m happy to announce the promotion of Keren to Keshet International’s CEO. Keren will lead the international activity from the Tel Aviv office from January next year. Flash forward to the next decade – and I predict that thanks to her experience, competence, and her many skills, Keren has taken Keshet International and Israeli TV, along with the rest of the management team at KI and Keshet, to new horizons. Good luck from all of us at Keshet, Keren!”
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