Duke and Duchess of Sussex face production company exodus as aides depart
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are facing further staff departures from Archewell as two more key aides have announced they are leaving after “making a cultural mark”.
The latest departures come after a busy few months for the couple, who have been in the public eye following the release of their Netflix documentary and Prince Harry’s controversial memoir.
But as the couple begin to “look forward” following these projects, the company will lose two of its leading figures later this year in what remains a critical period for the Duke and Duchess.
Ben Browning, internal content head of Archewell Productions, the filmed content arm, and Fara Taylor, who leads Archewell’s marketing team, will both not be replaced after they leave.
Ashley Hansen, the organisation’s head of communication, announced the departures and said that they both “exceeded expectations and made their mark within the cultural zeitgeist”.
She added that the Duke and Duchess remain “hugely grateful” for their support on the “vital look-back projects” that they have recently released.
Mr Browning, an Oscar-nominated producer, was described as “integral” in spearheading the productions released by the couple to date, including the record-breaking Harry & Meghan Netflix series.
He oversaw the entire production, which became Netflix’s most-streamed documentary series debut with 81.55 million hours watched in the first week of its release.
It was variously described in UK publications as a “a very Californian exercise in grievance” and a “tedious, narcissistic wallow”.
Archewell Productions quickly followed this record-breaking series with the Live to Lead documentary in partnership with the Mandela Foundation, which received a quieter reception in comparison.
Mr Browning’s departure will be followed by a period of focus on scripted content production instead, as Chanel Pysnik continues to oversee unscripted content for Archewell, a spokesperson confirmed.
Ms Taylor’s departure, however, comes as the couple plan to streamline the company’s marketing arm after the success of Meghan’s Spotify podcast and their other releases.
The team will continue to operate under the leadership of Ms Hansen, who also works closely with the Duke and Duchess as their global press secretary.
“Ben and Fara have been integral to the creation and execution of many critically and commercially acclaimed projects during their tenure,” she said.
“They have expertly delivered content and campaigns that have exceeded expectations and made their mark within the cultural zeitgeist.”
Ms Hansen added: “They played a critical role in helping to tell the stories of the Duke and Duchess thus far and the couple remain hugely grateful for their support on those vital look-back projects, as they now look forward”.
The most recent departures follow last month’s announcement that the couple would take “full lead” of their company after Mandana Dayani, who ran Archewell for less than 18 months, stepped down.
Ms Dayani, who had been described as both president and chief operating officer of Archewell, left her role by mutual agreement and was not replaced.
As the company enters its third year, it has employed a co-executive director to head up the non-profit Archewell Foundation alongside James Holt, and Serena Regan has been named head of podcasts.