DALLAS (AP) — First as San Antonio mayor, then as the U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary, Henry Cisneros has spent much of his career serving the public.
He said Thursday he’ll be doing more of the same in his new job: president and chief operating officer of the Spanish-language TV network Univision, headquartered in Los Angeles.
“In this case, it’s not pure public service in an elected sense, but it is the offering of information services and entertainment services, news services, to a community that needs them and hopefully that can use them in making its way into the mainstream of this country,” Cisneros said. “So all of those aspects of this are very appealing.”
Cisneros — who has one daughter in college and another in law school — said he planned all along to serve only one term in President Clinton’s cabinet and then seek a higher-paying job.
“The whole combination of financial obligations required me to stay with my plan of four years,” Cisneros said, confirming that he will be making more with a multiyear Univision contract than his $148,000-a-year annual sal-ary at HUD.
“Certainly, the legal obligations that I face only made the matter more complex, more pressing,” he said. “But the original plan, before any of these legal complications arose, was to be there for four years.”
Cisneros, 49, is the subject of an independent counsel investigation into allegations he lied to the FBI during a background check about payments he made to a former mistress, Linda Medlar.
Cisneros said the Univision post was the best of 20 or so private-sector opportunities.
“I am going to take a very hands-on approach to beginning thinking about the future, the planning for the future of this network,” he said.
“I don’t expect to be on the lecture circuit, don’t expect to be on other corporate boards, don’t expect to be involved in many other civic endeavors because I’ve got to give this every bit of attention.”
A. Jerrold Perenchio will continue as chairman and chief executive officer of the international network.
“His presence alone will serve to elevate the position that Univision occupies in both the Hispanic community and among the leading communications companies in this country,” Perenchio said of Cisneros.
The dominant Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States, Univision reaches 92% of U.S. Hispanic households, with an 80% audience share of Spanish-language viewership overall, the company said.