It is our very great pleasure to welcome two new members to the Skoolbo Board.
We are delighted to announce that former South Africa Rugby Team Captain Francois Pienaar and sports and media rights expert Karl Bistany have joined existing board members Guy Reypert and Jeff Halley to help drive forward the Skoolbo mission.
Francois Pienaar is one of the most iconic sports figures in the world having famously captained South Africa to success in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Born and educated in the Transvaal, he went on to play for South Africa, captaining the side in every one of his 29 appearances, culminating in the famous victory at the World Cup in 1995. He was acknowledged at that time as an inspiring leader, with an uncompromising approach to commitment.
“It was under his inspiring leadership that rugby became the pride of the entire county, his leadership extended beyond the field of rugby and he truly represents all South Africans. Under his inspiring leadership a nation was brought together.” Nelson Mandela
Francois has a fierce passion for education and in 2003 founded the charity ‘Make a Difference’ and ‘Advent Sport Entertainment and Media’ in 2009 which coordinates varsity sport and entertainment in South Africa.
In 2009 Warner Brothers produced the Oscar nominated movie “Invictus” (directed by Clint Eastwood) focusing on the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa and how a once divided nation became world champions. Mandela’s role was played by Morgan Freeman with Matt Damon portraying Francois.
Karl Bistany is one of the foremost experts on sports and media rights across the globe.
Between 1996 and 2004 Karl was Chief Executive of CSI Television which subsequently became Octagon CSI. As Head of Octagon’s global television business Karl oversaw all group activities in electronic media. This ranged from the representation of rights holders including UEFA Euro 2004™ Championships, The Football Association (of England), The English Premier League, the Football League, the Cricket Boards of Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe, the New Zealand Rugby Union, Six Nations Rugby and World Superbikes to managing the company’s production division.
Karl was also Managing Director of Octagon Marketing (EMEA) between 2000 and 2004 overseeing all marketing activities within the EMEA markets including the sponsorship of the Lions Tour of Australia (2001), FIFA Beach Soccer and MasterCard (FIFA World Cup 2002).
In 2005 he founded Future Media Services (FMS) to provide rights holders, broadcasters and sponsors with specialists services in the field of televised sport. Though UK based, FMS has a global network of independent industry specialists, offering decades of industry experience and continually challenging convention to achieve the right results for its clients.
Karl has worked with many other major global players including – BT Sports, Guinness, Bundesliga, Commonwealth Games England and UEFA where FMS advised on the tendering process of UEFA’s Euro 2008™ television rights and the centralisation of all National Association qualifying match media rights.
We are honoured to have such a wealth of expertise on the Skoolbo Board.
Welcome Francois and Karl!