True North Founders to Step Down


As True North’s founders Jess Fowle and Andrew Sheldon prepare to step down by the end of the year, the company has promoted Norma Wisnevitz to CEO and made several other hires and promotions to bolster its leadership team.

Wisnevitz has been promoted from her role as chief operating officer. She originally joined the Sky Studios-owned company three years ago and has been instrumental in driving forward its strategy, ambition and commercial development.

Katy Thorogood has been hired as chief creative officer. Currently, she is creative director at Ricochet, where her slate includes The Repair Shop, The Bidding Room, Kings of the Wood and more. She will join True North later this year and will be tasked with broadening the creative breadth and scale of productions.

Executive producer Christian Hills has been promoted to creative director, based in Leeds, joining Fiona O’Sullivan, creative director in Manchester. The team also includes the newly appointed head of production, Elaine Morris.

True North was originally founded in 2002 by Fowle, Sheldon and Glyn Middleton and has made a significant contribution to the U.K.’s cultural economy, especially in the North of England. It makes over 100 hours of original content each year, including A New Life in the Sun, Pam Ayres’ Cotswolds and Teen Mom UK.

“We are really proud to have played a key part in putting Northern talent at the heart of the U.K. broadcasting ecosystem,” Fowle said. “True North is so much more than a production company—its unique culture has nurtured some of the nation’s top program makers and been the launch pad for many careers. After 20 years, it was always going to be incredibly tough to find a team we could trust to take True North on the next stage of its journey, and we are absolutely thrilled to have Norma and Katy on board to lead True North into the next exciting chapter.”

Sheldon added, “We know that Katy and Norma will do a terrific job of nurturing everything that is special about our company. Katy is universally respected for her creativity and is a brilliant team player, and we’re delighted she’s agreed to join us. The pair of them will be heading up a team that is already one of the very best in the business, and it leaves us confident that True North will be in good hands as it goes forward into a new era.”

“Jess and Andrew have created a very special production company with a big Northern heart that runs through the very bones of it,” Thorogood said. “I’m honored and excited to start working with their talented team to take True North into a new chapter. Of course, it’s hard to leave Ricochet colleagues, but I’m proud of all we’ve achieved together and wish them every success for the future.”

Wisnevitz commented, “True North holds a special place in the U.K. indie sector, and I couldn’t be prouder to lead our teams through this next chapter. I’d like to thank Andrew and Jess for creating and nurturing True North through the years, and entrusting Katy and myself to take the business forward. I am excited to continue working with all of our industry partners in the months and years ahead and showcase Northern talent and creativity on a global stage.”

Barnaby Shingleton, director of factual at Sky Studios, added, “On behalf of everyone at Sky Studios, I’d like to thank Jess and Andrew for their dedication, creativity, endless humor and friendship since Sky first backed True North in 2017. They have built an excellent creative business, and we couldn’t be prouder of the company today or excited to have Norma and Katy on board as we look ahead to a new era of creative growth.”