Next month will bring the end of a sports broadcasting era, with Francis Tellier set to step down as chief executive of Host Broadcast Services (HBS) after nearly two decades.
It was announced today that the 65-year-old Frenchman is to retire from the role, with his deputy, Dan Miodownik, taking over with effect from November 1.
Tellier - who founded HBS in 1999 as host broadcaster of the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan and South Korea, the first such competition staged in more than one country – will stay on as a special adviser to HBS and its parent company, the sports marketing group Infront.
He will also serve as non-executive President of International Games Broadcast Services, a production joint venture with IMG, which is working on next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Tellier’s World Cup experience began in 1998 in his host nation France, where he was managing director of TVRS98, host broadcaster of that tournament.
All told he has worked in senior roles on six FIFA World Cups and five Asian Games.
As he told insidethegames during an interview at SPORTELMonaco, however, Tellier cut his host broadcasting teeth at the Winter Olympics in Albertville in 1992.
"My career changed to host broadcasting from regular broadcasting because of Albertville," he said.
"Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Killy [co-Presidents of Albertville 1992] changed my life."
The Parisian recalled being asked to form HBS in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup by ISL and Kirsch, the two companies which at the time held the rights to the competition.
"Initially, we were supposed to be a one-off," he said.
But it was ultimately decided in the wake of a meeting on the day before the 2002 World Cup final between Brazil and Germany that the company would keep going so as to capitalise on its accumulated expertise.
Philippe Blatter, Infront President, described Tellier as "a true trailblazer" in host broadcast production, "continuously pushing the boundaries of innovation, and always meeting the high demands of our clients".
He went on: "Regardless of event size, format, location or challenge, Francis was always the consummate professional - calm, composed and confident, while ensuring the broadcast success of the biggest sports shows on Earth.
"It has been a pleasure and inspiration working with him."
Tellier underlined that the succession had been well prepared, and that "no-one has been taken by surprise" at the timing of his departure.