Posts Tagged ‘Alain Andreoli’

Thorsteinson Replaces Cross as CEO of Quantel and Snell

Analysis, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, Broadcaster Financial Results | Posted by Joe Zaller
Mar 04 2015

Quantel and Snell announced that Tim Thorsteinson has replaced Ray Cross as CEO, effective immediately.news_Tim_Thorsteinson

According to the company, Thorsteinson “is the ideal individual to lead the next stage in the development of the combined Quantel and Snell.”

Cross, who had been CEO of both Quantel and Snell since March 2014, when it was announced that Quantel had acquired fellow UK-based broadcast technology vendor Snell, a deal that had been long-rumored in the industry, since the two companies already had a common parent, Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), the investment arm of Lloyds Bank.

Previously, Cross had been CEO of Quantel since December 2005.

At the time of the Quantel-Snell deal, the company said in a statement that the combined entity had revenue of more than $170 million and office in 16 locations around the globe, making it one of the larger vendors in the broadcast industry.  The company has not provided an update on its performance since that time.

It will be interesting to see what moves Thorsteinson, a longstanding broadcast industry executive, will make as CEO of Snell and Quantel, companies he has competed against in previous roles.

Thorsteinson is a well-known figure in the broadcast industry having headed-up several of the industry’s largest technology vendors over the past 15 years.

In January 2013, Thorsteinson was named CEO of Grass Valley, replacing Alain Andreoli, who had been appointed by private equity firm Francisco Partners following their 2010 acquisition of Grass Valley from Technicolor.

Just over a year later, Thorsteinson oversaw the $220m sale of Grass Valley to Belden Corporation, who combined it with Miranda, keeping the Grass Valley moniker for the enlarged entity.

Interestingly, Thorsteinson was also involved in the sale of Miranda to Belden.  In April 2012, he appointed a director of Miranda Technologies during the time that activist investor JEC Capital was agitating for a sale of that business.  Three months after Thorsteinson became a director of the company, Belden Corporation acquired Miranda for an enterprise value of $356m.

Thorsteinson was the President of Harris Corporation’s Broadcast Communications Division from 2006-2010.  He was appointed to this role following the $460m purchase by Harris of Leitch Technology Corporation, where Thorsteinson had been CEO since November 2003.

Prior to Leitch, Thorsteinson was CEO of Grass Valley Group, and oversaw the December 2001 sale of Grass Valley Group to Thomson Multimedia for $172m.

“We are delighted to have Tim Thorsteinson join Quantel to continue the company’s transformation. Tim has a proven track record of value creation, and his knowledge and experience are a great fit to grow the combined Quantel and Snell business into a major force in the rapidly changing broadcast industry,” said Chris Hurley, Managing Director Lloyds Development Capital and Quantel Board Director. “I would also like to thank Ray for all his hard work and achievements at Quantel over the past 10 years.”

“I’m very excited to be joining Quantel,” said Thorsteinson. “It is one of the larger independent businesses in our industry, with world class products and a rich history of innovation. I want to build on that tradition to create an organization 100% focused on helping our customers prosper in the media technology world.”

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Related Content:

Press Release: Tim Thorsteinson becomes Quantel CEO

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Quantel Acquires Snell

Press Release: Quantel acquires Snell to create new force in media technology

Quantel – Snell FAQ

Belden Makes it Official – Combination of Grass Valley and Miranda to be Called Grass Valley

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Belden Completes Acquisition of Grass Valley, Will Invest $25 Million in Integration of Combined Business

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Belden Buys Grass Valley for $220 Million

Belden Closes Deal to Acquire Miranda

Thorsteinson Appointed to Miranda’s Board of Directors in Otherwise Uneventful AGM

Miranda Nominates Tim Thorsteinson as Director

Activist Shareholder Drama Continues at Miranda Technologies

Technicolor Receives a Binding Offer from Francisco Partners for Grass Valley Broadcast Business

Press Release: Tim Thorsteinson Named President of Harris Corporation’s Broadcast Communications Division

Press Release: Harris Corporation Completes Acquisition of Leitch Technology

WSJ Article: Thomson Multimedia to Buy Grass Valley for $172 Million

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Belden Buys Grass Valley for $220 Million

Belden’s Acquisition of Miranda to Close on or Before July 27, 2012

TVNewsCheck Article (9-29-2011): Tech One-on-One With Simon Derry — Snell Aims To Master the U.S. Market

Advent Venture and LDC close £72m broadcasting merger

Advent Venture Partners and LDC Complete Their Portfolios Merger – March 9, 2009

Video: Pro-Bel and Snell & Wilcox CEOs Discuss Merger (2009)

Press Release (11-6-2003): Chyron Sells Pro-Bel to LDC

Broadcast Magazine (2002): Snell Secures £22m from Advent

Press Release (2002) Advent Venture Partners invests GBP13m in Snell & Wilcox

Variety Article (7-14-2000): Carlton sells tech arm Quantel to LDC for £51 million 

 

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Impressions of IBC 2012: M&A, Cloud, Multi-Platform, 4K, Efficient Operations, CiaB, and the “Return of Grass Valley”

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, content delivery, market research, technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 20 2012

A previous version of this article appeared in the “Tech Thursday” Spotlight Section of TVNewsCheck

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Against the backdrop of the ongoing European debt crisis and the afterglow of the 2012 Olympics, nearly 51,000 visitors made their way to Amsterdam for the annual IBC trade show. Major themes of the five-day broadcast technology jamboree included vendor consolidation, buzz about new technologies for multi-screen content delivery and social TV, futuristic technology demonstrations, and several important new product introductions.

The broadcast vendor community got a little less fragmented on the first morning of IBC, with a merger announcement by two Norway-based video transport technology providers — Nevion and T-VIPS

Although no additional deals were unveiled at the show, vendor consolidation was one of the most discussed themes at IBC, and according to statements made by some of the leading vendors, there is potentially a lot more consolidation on the way.   

Newly acquired Miranda technologies made its debut as a “Belden brand” at IBC, and Belden EVP Denis Suggs was on hand at the show to meet customers and explain his company’s vision for the broadcast industry, and why they decided to buy Miranda in one of the largest broadcast technology M&A deals in recent years. 

In a nutshell, Belden saw the opportunity to acquire a cash-generating company with a top-class management team that’s growing faster than the overall market and jumped at it. Including Miranda, Belden now generates approximately $450 million a year in broadcast-related revenue, making it one of the industry’s largest players, and it appears they are not done doing deals in this space. 

Suggs said Belden views Miranda as a platform from which is can further expand its broadcast industry operations, and that it intends to support Miranda’s existing plan for further acquisitions.

Grass Valley CEO Alain Andreoli echoed a similar sentiment at his company’s press conference. He said that Francisco Partners, the private equity firm that owns Grass Valley, has a $3 billion fund behind it and will support Grass Valley’s efforts to become an industry consolidators.

When the dust settles, he said, Grass Valley may not be the largest player, but it will certainly be in the top three. Last year, Grass Valley bought PubliTronic, a provider of channel-in-a-box (CiaB) technology, to gain a larger foothold in the playout market. Expect to see Grass Valley and other players making additional strategic moves that help them enter attractive new market spaces.

But most IBC M&A talk centered on Harris Broadcast, which is currently being divested by its parent company. Although rumors were flying at the show about who might buy the division, its executives were tight-lipped. Harris Broadcast President Harris Morris would only say that the deal is progressing according to plan, and is on track to be completed as soon as the end of 2012.

New products and services based on cloud technology, multi-platform content delivery and social TV services dominated many demonstration and hallway conversations at IBC, particularly in the “Connected World” pavilion, where dozens of new and established firms displayed a host of products aimed at securing a place in this emerging ecosystem.

Despite the enthusiasm of vendors, many buyers publicly and privately expressed caution about the technology.

Critics of cloud technology cited immature technology, bandwidth limitations, security, and an unproven business case as barriers to its adoption. Likewise, broadcasters and content owners expressed concern over the “disconnect” between the desire of end-users to receive and consume video content on an ever-increasing number personal devices, and the ability of broadcasters to create sustainable and profitable multi-platform business models.

Cloud-based discussions at IBC ranged from real-world case studies of how EVS helped broadcasters set up private clouds to facilitate remote production of the Euro 2012 soccer championships and London Olympics, to practical solutions from Signiant and Aspera for managing the delivery of file-based content over IP-enabled and cloud-based infrastructure, to new solutions for cloud-based video production.

Cloud-based production is an emerging trend, but initiatives such as the ‘Adobe Anywhere’ initiative will prove to be a catalyst in this area. Taking cloud-based production to the “next level” are new firms like VC-backed start-up A-Frame, which is building from the ground-up a complete cloud-based video production environment that marries the experience of broadcast and post-production experts with forward-thinking IT-based software experts. 

On the multi-screen front, Ericsson introduced its first encoder based on HEVC/H.265 compression technology. The company says that its HEVC implementation offers the potential for users to reduce bandwidth by up to 50%, thereby enabling more efficient delivery of content over multiple platforms, including mobile networks.

Harmonic unveiled a new version of its ProMedia transcoder, aimed at enabling its customers to deliver an integrated multi-screen experience to their subscribers. Harmonic also introduced new members of its senior management team: CMO Peter Alexander, and CTO Krish Padmanabhan, who recently joined the company from Cisco and NetApp, respectively.

Noticeable by their absence on the Harmonic booth at IBC were the familiar Omneon and Rhozet brand names, which have now been absorbed into Harmonic. “Harmonic is a branded house, not a house of brands, and our singular focus is delivering excellent video quality to consumers everywhere,” said Alexander.

The Sony/SES Astra demonstration of live delivery of 4K images over satellite drew a lot of attention.

For many years, 4K images have been trade show “eye candy” for visitors, but at IBC 2012 Sony and SES showed that technology exists today to transmit high quality 4K images over satellite at a manageable 50mbit/s using h.264 compression technology.  The stunning live video images were delivered via an SES satellite to an 84-inch Sony Bravia 4K display.

The demo prompted speculation that 4K will be the “next HD” in terms of consumer adoption and broadcast infrastructure upgrades. Other observers took a more practical approach, saying that the industry might see 4K being used as a high-end production format in near to mid term, but that it will be a long time before broadcasters who have already spent millions on the transition to HDTV decide to upgrade again to 4K.

Indeed, when it comes to broadcast infrastructure upgrades it is operational efficiency, not higher resolution, which appears to be the primary demand of broadcasters. Thus, many vendors at IBC were promoting solutions designed to help broadcasters transition their operations to file-based and IT-oriented workflows. 

One of the ongoing initiatives in this area has been the development by a large number of vendors of integrated IT-based playout technologies, more commonly known as channel-in-a-box (CiaB).  These systems offer the promise of increased operational efficiency and significant cost savings through the integration of previously disparate playout and master control functionality into a single IT-based platform. Over the past several years, major vendors including Grass Valley, Miranda, Snell, Harmonic, and Evertz have offered products.

At IBC 2012, Harris became the latest entrant into the market with the launch of Versio, a CiaB system based on several of the company’s existing technology platforms including the Nexio server family, ADC automation, and Inscriber graphics. 

When describing the new Versio product at the company IBC press conference, Harris Morris said the No. 1 requirement for automated IT-based playout systems is reliability, and that this is an area where Harris Broadcast excels. Morris also emphasized that CiaB platforms rely heavily on automation technology, where Harris Broadcast is an established leader, making the company a natural choice for broadcasters considering integrated IT-based playout.

Although Harris Broadcast touted the fact that their Versio platform is based on the company’s existing technology platforms, it stopped well short of saying that the new system is a direct replacement for its current products, particularly its popular Nexio server family.

Instead the company described Versio as a robust cost-effective way for broadcasters to quickly add new services and digital subchannels channels, and to provide backup in emergencies.

“Channel-in-a-box should be about opening up new possibilities rather than limiting how a broadcaster can operate across multiple on-air scenarios,” said Andrew Warman, senior product manager at Harris Broadcast. “It’s limiting to look at channel-in-a-box as a system replacement for servers, automation, and other play-to-air systems. Broadcasters need freedom to build appropriate workflows for their operations, including external components.”

However, other vendors clearly see the CiaB market differently, and have taken a very different approach than Harris Broadcast, especially those firms that do not have an existing playout server business to protect. 

Snell Chief Architect Neil Maycock said that his company’s ICE platform is not only “ready for prime-time,” it is on the air today delivering high value content for major broadcasters.  Maycock also said that ICE has a unique architecture that enables it to scale from a single channel implementation, through a multi-location centralcasting model, to a large multi-channel playout environment.

PlayBox CEO Vassil Lefterov said he has built his entire business on disrupting the traditional server-based playout market. “We believe our singular focus on this application is a key advantage,” he said.  “Playbox has thousands of live channels on the air today and is working to re-define playout operations for many of our customers.”

Grass Valley, which like Harris has a significant video server business, took a more pragmatic approach.  SVP and CMO Graham Sharp said that “it’s likely CiaB and other IT-based playout systems may ultimately impact everyone’s server business, so we’ve taken the decision to cannibalize our own products where necessary by embracing IT technology, because if we don’t do it to ourselves someone else will.” 

Grass Valley was among the vendors with significant new products. Introductions included a new LDX camera platform that scales from a basic model to a high-end super-slow motion system; a new video server family, and brand new electronics for the Kayenne and Karrera production switchers.  Grass Valley said all its new products feature native 1080p processing, and provide straightforward upgrades via software.

Grass Valley also made bold claims about its future product plans, stating that by 2014 it will have replaced its entire portfolio with all new 1080p, IT-focused products. 

GV’s Sharp also hinted at a major NAB 2013 announcement from Grass Valley: “Next year we will introduce a completely new integrated IP-based platform that is totally format agnostic.” he said.  “We believe this new platform will enable a new way of working that we call non-linear production….”

All Grass Valley products, including those launched at IBC 2012, will be compatible with the new architecture, he said.

Sharp concluded GV press conference by saying: “If there is one take-away from this presentation about Grass Valley, it’s this: We’re back.”

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© Devoncroft Partners. All Rights Reserved.

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Sales & Marketing Power Shift at “Profitable, Independent” Grass Valley

Uncategorized | Posted by Joe Zaller
Aug 20 2012

Grass Valley announced a reorganization of its sales and marketing leadership today, appointing three regional presidents and a chief marketing officer.

The company also slipped into the announcement the statement that it “is now a profitable independent company,” but did not provide any further details or financial metrics.

Grass Valley, which was acquired from Technicolor by private equity firm Francisco Partners in January 2011, says it has now completed the first phase of its corporate transformation by unifying its product line, modernizing its service offering, and improving supply chain management. The company says that the executive re-alignment signifies the next phase of its strategic plan, and will focus the company on better serving its customer base.

 

The following appointments were announced today.

 

  • Mike Oldham, who was the CEO of automation and channel-in-a-box provider OmniBus prior to its sale to Miranda in September 2010, has joined Grass Valley as region president, Americas

 

  • Alan Wright has been promoted to region president, EMEA

 

  • Andrew Sedek has been promoted to region president Asia Pacific

 

 

All four will report to Grass Valley president and CEO Alain Andreoli.

Grass Valley also said that longtime executive Jeff Rosica, the current EVP and chief sales & marketing officer, will leave the company near the end of the year.  Rosica, who ran Grass Valley when it was owned by Technicolor and oversaw the sale of Grass Valley to Francisco Partners, will serve as a strategic advisor to Andreoli until late November.

“Having re-aligned our product groups and streamlined our operations it’s now all about getting closer to our customers, becoming their trusted advisors and delighting them with the Grass Valley experience,” said Andreoli. “We are creating more strength in our regions and will now have three regional presidents reporting directly to me, as well as a newly created chief marketing officer role, bringing an even stronger voice of the customer to the executive team. Grass Valley is a strong global brand, with a balanced worldwide presence. We understand that customers in each region have unique needs and we want them to have a strong presence at the executive table.”

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Related Content:

Press Release: Grass Valley Re-Organizes its Sales and Marketing Organization

Press Release: Grass Valley Names Graham Sharp to Guide Corporate Development

Grass Valley Names New CEO, Management Team

Technicolor Completes Sale of Grass Valley

More Broadcast M&A – Miranda Buys OmniBus for C$48.7m

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© Devoncroft Partners.  All Rights Reserved.

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Thoughts on the Grass Valley – PubliTronic Deal, Including Press Conference Slides

broadcast technology market research, Broadcast Vendor M&A | Posted by Joe Zaller
Oct 13 2011

Yesterday, Grass Valley announced that it has acquired Dutch Channel-in-a-Box (CiaB) vendor PubliTronic via an online press conference.  This in an interesting move for a number of reasons, and Grass Valley did a good job of explaining its rationalize for the transaction.

During the presentation Grass Valley showed a slide deck that outlined its reasons for buying PubliTronic, provided an overview of the CiaB market opportunity and laid out its strategic objectives for this space.

Grass Valley says the broadcast market is changing more rapidly than ever, and that it is working to position itself as the “trusted transformation expert,” which can provide the appropriate mix of hardware, software and services to broadcast customers facing unprecedented change.

Grass Valley says it wants to become “the premier video technology solutions company.” This plan includes software, services, differentiated products, moving “down market” where opportunities are greater, and moving into emerging markets where there is higher growth.

The company sees integrated playout as a prime example of a fast growing, but currently underserved market. During the press conference GV said that the CiaB space is one of the fastest growing areas of the broadcast market, and that the acquisition of PubliTronic will help it go after this space, while better serving the needs of its customers.

It will be interesting to see how Grass Valley executes on this deal and deploys the PubliTronic products (now rebranded as Grass Valley K2 Edge).

There’s no doubt that Grass Valley is one of the premier brands in the broadcast industry, but many of their products such as switchers, servers and routers are hardware based and used in live production and studio applications.

Conversely, the CiaB market is all about software, and some traditionally hardware-focused companies have had a difficult time making the transition to a more software-centric approach. Of course Grass Valley’s video servers are widely deployed in the playout space, and the company undoubtedly has extensive technical expertise in this area, so maybe the transition will be smooth.

While the purchase of a 32-person playout software company is not a “bet the company” move for Grass Valley, it’s still critically important for the company to get this acquisition right.  New CEO Alain Andreoli, made it clear at IBC that he (and new GV owner Francisco Partners) sees software and services as core to the company’s future success.  The PubliTronic deal is a significant step in this direction.

There’s no doubt that the PubliTronic product offering is very capable.  However, Grass Valley is far from alone in going after the CiaB market.  Miranda, Snell, Evertz, Playbox and VSN are all vying for leadership in this space, and there are rumors that both Harris and Harmonic (Omneon) will be throwing their respective hats into this ring before NAB 2012. Expect to be hearing a lot about integrated playout / CiaB over the next six months.

At the end of the press conference Grass Valley CEO Alain Andreoli said that this deal shows that Franscisco Partners is committed to building a new Grass Valley and that it’s putting its money where its mouth is in order to do so.  It’s going to be very interesting to watch
how this shakes out over the next year or two.

The slides from the Grass Valley – PubliTronic announcement press conference (or at least most of them) are shown below.  They are worth reading as they do a good job of explaining the market dynamics, Grass Valley’s strategy, and the PubliTronic product offering.

 

 

 

 


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Related Content:

More Broadcast Vendor M&A: Grass Valley Buys PubliTronic, Enters Integrated Playout / Channel-in-a-Box Market

Press Release: Grass Valley Extends Leadership in IT-based Playout Solutions with Acquisition of Integrated Playout Solutions Provider PubliTronic

Press Release: Grass Valley Announces New K2 Edge Automated, Multichannel, Integrated Playout Solution

Announcement Coming From Grass Valley

BC 2011 Trends: Cloud, Channel-in-a-Box, 3D

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More Broadcast Vendor M&A: Grass Valley Buys PubliTronic, Enters Integrated Playout / Channel-in-a-Box Market

broadcast industry trends, Broadcast technology channel strategy, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast Vendor M&A | Posted by Joe Zaller
Oct 12 2011

Grass Valley announced today that it has purchased PubliTronic, a Netherlands-based broadcast technology supplier.  Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

PubliTronic provides integrated playout or channel-in-box (CiaB) solutions for broadcast playout applications.  According to Grass Valley executives, CiaB solutions have been deployed by approximately 5% of the market today and represent “one of the fastest growing segments in broadcasting, [and is] expected to increase significantly over the next three years.”

PubliTronic’s CiaB product provides an integrated playout package featuring a video server, media management, automation, broadcast graphics and other master control functionality.  PubliTronic’s products will be incorporated into the Grass Valley product line-up and will be re-branded as the Grass Valley K2 Edge.

The acquisition of the PubliTronic product line complements the existing Grass Valley server product business and puts Grass Valley into the automated playout business, which is shaping up to be one of the next battlegrounds in the broadcast technology business.  It was certainly one of the most important trends at the recent IBC 2011 trade show.

With the purchase of PubliTronic, Grass Valley joins the growing list of broadcast vendors who are making major bets in this area.  In addition to Miranda, Evertz, Snell, Grass Valley, PlayBox and VSN; who are now all vying for leadership in this segment, I’ve heard rumors that other firms including both Harris and Harmonic (Omneon) could launch CiaB products by NAB 2012, making this both a hot topic and a very crowded space.

With most CiaB systems providing similar functionality, it will be important for Grass Valley to differentiate itself from its competition.  In a statement, the company sought to do this, saying: “What this acquisition brings to customers is much more than a simple “channel-in-a-box” solution. Our next-generation K2 Edge™ server is a sophisticated and very powerful multichannel, integrated, automated playout system that delivers benefits to our customers from day one.”

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Related Content:

Press Release: Grass Valley Extends Leadership in IT-based Playout Solutions with Acquisition of Integrated Playout Solutions Provider PubliTronic

Press Release: Grass Valley Announces New K2 Edge Automated, Multichannel, Integrated Playout Solution

Announcement Coming From Grass Valley

BC 2011 Trends: Cloud, Channel-in-a-Box, 3D

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Announcement Coming From Grass Valley

broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Oct 11 2011

Grass Valley said today that it will be making a “significant corporate announcement” on October 12th.

This language would seem to indicate some kind of M&A deal, rather than a product announcement.

Grass Valley’s new parent company, Francisco Partners, has been open with the market about their strategic commitment to Grass Valley and the broadcast market.  Tomorrow’s announcement will presumably reveal the next stage in this strategy.

 

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Grass Valley Names New CEO, Management Team

broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jan 17 2011

Grass Valley said today that it has named Alain Andreoli as the company’s new president and CEO.  The announcement comes just a few weeks after Francisco Partners finalized the deal to buy Grass Valley from Technicolor.

Andreoli was most recently an Operating Partner at Francisco Partners, and prior to that has held leadership positions at several technology companies including president of Sun Microsystems Europe.

As part of the announcement, Grass Valley also confirmed the appointment of several members of its executive team.

Jeff Rosica who had led the Grass Valley for the past several will remain with the company as EVP and chief sales and marketing officer, a role that gives him global responsibility for all customer-facing activities.

Ian Halifax joins the company in the role of EVP and CFO.  Halifax was previously was CFO at Wind River Systems, and also previously worked at Sun Microsystems in Europe, presumably with Andreoli.

As part of the same announcement, the company also confirmed the appointment of the following people as members of its executive team: Charlie Dunn, SVP and GM Editing, Servers & Storage; Martin Fry SVP and GM Routing & Signal Management; Marcel Koutstaal, SVP and GM Cameras; Scott Murray SVP and GM Live Production; and Dave Perillo, SVP and GM Global Operations.

Grass Valley says it will announce additional members of its management team soon.

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You can read the full Grass Valley Management Team Press Release Here.

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