The Really Useful Group (RUG), owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber to produce, license and promote his shows and music has appointed a new CEO and Non-Executive Chairman as it seeks to increase the reach and impact of Lloyd Webber’s body of work through TV, film and other platforms.

Charles Farmer, former Executive Vice President of MGM International Television Productions, joins RUG as CEO, a newly created role. Farmer will work closely with RUG’s President, Jessica Koravos, who has led global theatrical licensing for over 9 years and will continue to lead this area of the business.

David Chance, who joined the RUG board in April 2021, will become the Non-Executive Chairman, taking over from Mark Wordsworth, who will focus on his Executive Chair role at LW Theatres.

Charles Farmer worked at MGM from 1999 until 2021, serving as Senior Vice President and Managing Director and finally as Executive Vice President. He worked in a variety of roles and played a pivotal part in MGM’s operations across Europe and Asia with a remit that included oversight of TV distribution in EMEA, India and China during which time he launched FARGO, THE VIKINGS and THE HANDMAIDS TALE inter alia. He was recently developing scripted drama projects with writers such as Julian Fellowes and Tom Edge. Most recently he has been consulting for Sky Cinema on their Original features strategy.

David Chance has worked extensively in Pay TV. He has served as a Non-Executive Director on the boards of BSkyB Group plc, O2 plc, ITV plc and Intertrust Inc., Non-Executive Chairman of MTG (AB) and NENT (AB) and continues to serve as a Non-Executive Director of PCCW Limited (HK). He was formerly Deputy CEO of BSkyB Group plc.

Andrew Lloyd Webber  said: “The Covid-19 pandemic forced us all to look for new ways to develop, produce and share our work. While I am thrilled to see live theatre firmly back on its feet, we also have major ambitions in the worlds of TV, film, the metaverse and beyond. I am delighted to have Charlie and David on board to help us achieve new and exciting things. As he steps down as our Chairman, I also want to acknowledge the immeasurable contribution of Mark Wordsworth, the Chair of our board for 15 years.”

Charles Farmer: “I am delighted to be joining Andrew, David and Jessica and the wider RUG team, a diverse group of very talented individuals, at such an interesting time in the business’ growth. Working closely with Andrew and his truly unique body of work, I share his excitement for the major ambitions we have for RUG to expand into more projects for broadcast, streaming and film and TV platforms as well as other areas of growth.”

David Chance: ““I am very excited about the opportunities to further develop and grow RUG’s business and believe Charlie’s addition will add tremendous strength and breadth to the excellent management team already in place.”

Jessica Koravos: “After such a tumultuous period, the global theatre industry is rebounding fast. The early shoots are blossoming, and the opportunities ahead for RUG’s theatrical and production work across the world are endless. After nearly 10 years at RUG, this feels like an exciting time to be joined by Charlie as, with our brilliant wider team, we take RUG to the next stage of its growth, broadening our ability to share Andrew’s work with millions of people across the world.”

The Really Useful Group is currently producing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella in the West End in London, as well as The Phantom of the Opera in London and on Broadway, its longest ever running show. In addition, productions of The Phantom of the Opera, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, School of Rock – The Musical, Starlight Express, Evita and many others are currently playing and touring in all major markets across the world.

Jon Creamer

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