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Appointment for TV company to help enable future growth.

Byline: CHRIS PYKE Business reporter

AN ambitious TV company has made an appointment it believes will help it chart a course for future growth.

Llion Iwan, 49, head of content distribution at S4C, will be joining Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da. As director of content, Mr Iwan will oversee all of the company's output with a particular emphasis on factual programmes and co-productions.

One of the attractions of the job, according to Mr Iwan, was that company owner and sole shareholder Dylan Huws, 59, was transforming the company into an employee ownership trust.

It was the first television production company in the UK to announce it was going to be staff owned and about a month later the Oscar-winning outfit Aardman Animations revealed it was going down the same route.

The move has been made possible thanks to funding from the Development Bank of Wales.

Cwmni Da was founded in 1996 and has a long and successful track record making factual, entertainment, drama and children's programmes, mainly in the Welsh language for S4C.

Their output includes some of the channel's biggest hits like Fferm Ffactor, Noson Lawen, Deian a Loli, Dim Byd, and FFIT Cymru.

They are currently working on an international co-production with Scottish independent firm MacTV and LIC, the biggest independent television production company in China, on a new series about the world's tides.

S4C, Irish language channel TG4, BBC ALBA and BBC NI have also commissioned the series.

A native of Waunfawr, Mr Iwan is the son of folk singing legend, businessman and Plaid Cymru stalwart Dafydd Iwan.

He cut his teeth as a local weekly newspaper journalist in north Wales before working for the BBC, variously as a journalist, producer and director and later lectured at the Creative Industries Department at Bangor University.

Mr Iwan joined S4C in 2012, initially as the commissioner for factual content, also sport for a period, before becoming head of content distribution four years later.

The newly-created post at Cwmni Da means he can now return permanently to live on his home turf and be close to his two sons who live locally.

He said: "My training as a newspaper reporter gave me an important grounding because I've always enjoyed creating stories. Those skills have been fundamental to everything I have done since, be it as a reporter, a producer or a director, because they're different ways of telling a story each time.

"As a commissioner, I have come to know Cwmni Da very well and I have a huge respect for them and the high quality and range of the programmes they make.

"I am also very excited about the idea of being part of an Employee Owned Trust which has its roots firmly planted in the town, because this is an area where there aren't too many opportunities outside of local government and education.

"My main focus will be overseeing the company's content and co-productions. I will also be aiming to secure commissions for international series where you have a network of broadcasters and investors.

"As well as aiming for success in terms of audience reaction and awards, the idea is to generate income that strengthens the company and allows us to invest in the huge pool of talented people here at Cwmni Da.

"That will then give us a firm foundation for future growth and expansion."

Dylan Huws, who has sold his shares to the new trust, said: "The company is going through an exciting period with the changes that have happened in the structure of the company and we're also looking forward as part of this to strengthen the board.

"Llion is the perfect fit for us because he has fantastic experience, a distinguished track record and international connections, as well as having experience of leading and managing which is just as important for me at the moment.

"He will be producing projects but he will also be leading our development portfolio across all genres."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 27, 2019
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