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Alessandri exits Zodiak as Runel takes French post

Benoit RunelPhilippe Alessandri is exiting Zodiak Media, with Benoît Runel upped to run the former’s prodco, Télé Images Productions, and fellow French kids firm Marathon Media, TBI has learned.

Runel (pictured) takes the newly-created role of managing director, Zodiak Kids, France following the change, which is effective immediately.

Alessandri departs after 16 years at Télé Images, where as founder and president he developed and produced kids shows including Extreme Football, The Ranch, The Basketeers, Street Football and Sally Bollywood, and drama series including Lifelines and Studio 24.

Runel, who is currently executive producer and senior VP of international drama at Zodiak France, will now lead both of Zodiak Media’s children’s TV production arms in the territory. Both firms sit within the Zodiak Kids division.

Marathon has been without a full-time chief since the departures of Vincent Chalvon-Demersay and David Michel in November 2013 and February 2014, respectively.

Besides running Télé Images, Alessandri oversaw Marathon Images and GTV – separate Zodiak drama firms in France – after the departure of Pascal Breton and Christian Charret in February 2013. He held these posts until Gaspard de Chavagnac joined Zodiak France in March 2014 and was appointed president of both prodcos.

Besides running Télé Images as founder and president, Alessandri has also been overseeing Marathon Images – a separate Zodiak drama firm in France – since the departure of Pascal Breton in February 2013. He also oversaw GTV, with Christian Charret stepping aside.

New Zodiak Kids French chief Runel worked under Zodiak Media CEO Marc Antoine d’Halluin while at Fox Kids Europe in the early 2000s. He has also worked at Lagardere and TF1 and founded manga channel Gong Media with André Semlyen. He joined Zodiak in October 2009.

Runel will report to Jean-Philippe Randisi, who took over Zodiak Kids as CEO earlier this year.

Zodiak’s kids business also includes UK studio The Foundation, which tapped Michael Carrington as chef exec to replace Nigel Pickard earlier this year.