Orbit Showtime Network

21 March 2017

The Issue

Interim Chief People Officer (CPO) of Orbit Showtime Network

Orbit Showtime Network (OSN) are the regional leaders in direct to home pay TV services in the Middle East and North Africa. They are also leading digital lifestyle providers of premium global TV content on mobile devices in the region.

"We are undertaking a major transformation effort at the company and our people will be a key asset in making that happen. I needed a strong interim CPO (Chief People Officer) to help me move towards a new operating model and to deal with the enormous cultural change we are going through. Odgers provided a great solution in John." Martin Stewart, CEO

The Solution

Odgers Interim identified a number of potential candidates who could fulfil the requirements and possessed the necessary skills and abilities for the role and following a short selection process, the suitable candidate was selected to join the business immediately.

The role is based in Dubai so this meant relocating for the duration of the assignment.

The Candidate

The chosen candidate was John Ireland. John had been the CPO for three organisations in his career, two publicly traded businesses and one private organisation.

“I really enjoyed the variety of the organisations but wanted to make change and newness as part of my professional life going forward. As a result, I took on my first interim assignment last year, really enjoyed it and have now made that my career direction. I have found that my experience across the HR remit from talent and engagement to succession, compensation and public company governance to be a valuable asset to organisations along with the experience and guidance I can give to businesses from day 1.”

OSN needed a step change in the HR function moving it to a true business partner role for the organisation. The function is now valued at the C Suite table and is represented at all decision making levels in the business from Board of Directors to the front line sales group. The role change was required in days and John was able to fill the gap at a few days’ notice.

OSN business challenges are new market entrants into the direct to home TV market from both in region, beIN from Qatar and Netflix from the US. The market dynamics have changed very quickly and content negotiations with the major providers are all due in the next 24 months. 

John added, “The move abroad for an interim assignment was, to an extent business as usual for me having lived and worked in Europe, APAC and North America. The move to the Middle East gives a first-hand view of a different culture which is one of the great opportunities in the position. The start was made easy by Odgers Interim and OSN who were both fulsome with their time and on boarding. Had this not been the case, the start would have been very difficult. The pace is frenetic but needs to be and should be in a transformation environment. 

The opportunity to work in a new environment and culture is both educational and very interesting. I have found if an interim is comfortable with the ambiguity that comes with an overseas assignment and is willing to accept and learn the local culture and not be a “my way or no way” leader then both the organisation and the interim will have a very fulfilling partnership.”

Martin added, “To date, John has worked with OSN to focus the HR agenda on the key areas of engagement and organisation as we continue our transformation in 2017.”

For more information, please contract Ali Palmer.

Categories: Technology, Entertainment & Communications


Angeline Burton at 28/03/2017 08:27 said:

An engaging way of illustrating the benefits of employing an interim and using them in the right way. I particularly enjoyed reading John's insights. Being able to readily adapt to different organisational cultures is a key part of being a successful interim.

Giancarlo Ferro at 24/03/2017 23:41 said:

Great case study, with an interesting mix of challenges spanning from the multicultural environment and the needs to make an impact coming from abroad and in a interim position.
John had the right approach and with support from the Executive team and a proper induction from Odgers the challenge is resulting in a great success.
Great teamwork here, well done!

Derek Wilde at 23/03/2017 08:50 said:

John's account resonates strongly with my own experience. Its really important for the interim to get the right balance between applying their knowledge and experience to address the challenges of the assignment in hand and the specific context and culture of the client's business situation. Whilst there will often be similarity and resonance with previous assignments, its very rare to encounter sameness across the different dimensions of an assignment. Picking up, assessing and interpreting differences and nuances rapidly really is a key skill for the interim.

Dermot Shortt at 22/03/2017 17:49 said:

Any international reorganisation requires a pragmatic approach “my way or no way” is just a train crash waiting to happen - I fully agree. The CPO in any reorganisation needs a strong voice at the table. Well done to both Martin, John and Odgers - Good luck with your major transformation

Tim Scott at 21/03/2017 20:51 said:

Nice case study. I like John's last point - "my way or no way" - sometimes you have to be a bit of a chameleon as an interim to adapt to different cultures.

Ruggero Slongo at 21/03/2017 19:22 said:

Working overseas in a different culture can be tricky and a proper induction to a new environment is key.

Delighted to see that Odgers knows the challenge and is fully committed in supporting interims so that the onboarding is quick and effective: well done.

Alex Cairns at 21/03/2017 15:19 said:

Interesting article Ali which confirms you only get true transformation achieved with a mandate from the top execs in a business


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