SBS’ THYES EXITS AMID FLAP

AMSTERDAM — SBS head of European television operations Freddy Thyes has resigned in the wake of a growing conflict-of-interest scandal in Holland involving the country’s top commercial network.

Thyes, a native of Luxembourg, came to SBS in 1995 after serving some seven years as general manager of RTL 4, Holland’s leading commercial channel and one of three outlets in the commercial network Holland Media Group (HMG).

The scandal involves activities which allegedly took place before Thyes moved over to SBS, while he was working at RTL 4 with Huib Boermans, former chairman of the executive board of commercial market leader RTL 4, and Henri Roemer, a former topper at RTL 4 before he moved up to become director/secretary general of HMG.

Boermans left HMG on June 4 following an explosive board meeting with HMG shareholders CLT and VNU, and Roemer was eventually dismissed. All three had owned shares of TeleWorld, a company that produces teletext for HMG, and had made public their stakes in the venture, but the dispute involves allegations they may have used their top positions at RTL 4 for personal monetary gain. Eventually the shares in TeleWorld had been sold.

None of the parties are commenting on the matter, although Boermans had threatened to take the dispute with CLT and VNU to court. The controversy has left HMG shaken to the core, at a time when it has enough troubles with declining market share at RTL 4.

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