Sascha Schwingel has been appointed the new CEO of German TV production giant UFA, replacing Nico Hofmann, who will become chairman of the Berlin-based company behind series such as Generation war, Germany ’83 And Ku’damm 56. UFA is part of global manufacturing giant Fremantle.
Hofmann, who has served as CEO of UFA since 2017, joined the company in 1998 and founded UFA’s serial fiction group teamWorx (now UFA Fiction). He is largely credited with helping to make UFA Germany’s largest television producer, with shows across all genres and broadcast on virtually every German channel and streaming service.
The group consists of four production units: UFA Fiction, which produces high-end drama such as Germany ’83, Charity and the recent Disney+ series Sam – A Saxon; soaps division UFA Serial Drama, which includes long-running series Good Times, Bad Times And Under Uns; UFA Show & Factual, which produces glossy floor shows, including the local versions of Has talent And Idol in Germany; and UFA Documentary, whose recent nonfiction productions include the Amazon doc series All or nothing: the national team in Qatar, about the recent dismal World Cup performance of the German football team. UFA programs reach an average of more than 30 million viewers weekly across all platforms.
“After 26 years at Bertelsmann and eight years at the helm of UFA, I have decided, together with (Fremantle Group CEO) Jennifer Mullin and (Fremantle Group COO and CEO Continental Europe) Andrea Scrosati, to pass on the leadership of UFA,” Hofmann said in a statement. “We have found an experienced and very talented successor in Sascha, a friend and colleague for years.” Hofmann called UFA his “pride and joy, a great production company with a great team,” adding that he has “high expectations for the future – a future in which I am happy to take on the role of chairman.”
Schwingel is a veteran of the German media world and was most recently deputy chief content officer at commercial broadcaster RTL Deutschland. RTL, like Fremantle, is owned by the German media giant Bertelsmann. Schwingel was previously CEO of the RTL Group network Vox. He began his career under Hofmann at teamWorx, where he oversaw event series such as That Sturmflut And Dresden. He later moved to ARD Degeto, the production department of the public broadcaster ARD, where he worked as a producer on programs such as Babylon Berlin And Gladbeck.
“I would like to personally thank Nico for his hard work and dedication to UFA over the past 26 years,” Mullin said in a statement. “With him at the helm, UFA has maintained its position as a leading German media company and an essential part of the Fremantle Group. We are pleased that he will become chairman and remain within the Fremantle family. At the same time, I am so happy to welcome Sascha back to the company and look forward to working with him to shape and drive the future of UFA.”
Scrosati added: “Sascha is an innovative, creative and smart leader, and a great choice to lead UFA into the future. UFA plays a major role in Fremantle’s global success, as a true portfolio company producing hit after hit across all genres.”
Schwingel called taking over as CEO of UFA “an enormous privilege,” adding that returning to the company where he started his career “feels like coming home.” He thanked Hofmann “for all the great foundations he has laid,” and said he looked forward “to building on this success with the team.”