Miami-based Spanish TV vet named prexy, CEO

In a move that could see HBO taking an even more aggressive stance on channel sales in Latin America, Spanish TV vet Ele Juarez has been appointed president and CEO of the HBO Latin America Group, the region’s biggest single cable programmer.

As Daily Variety observed when he was hired by HBO in October for the No. 2 post, Juarez is replacing Jose Miguel Pagani, the long-serving and highly respected CEO of the HBO Latin America Group. Pagani, who was based out of Caracas, has been promoted to executive director of HBO Ole’s board.

Juarez, whose appointment is effective Aug. 1, will report directly to the HBO Ole board of directors.

No-nonsense negotiator

Juarez was brought in as managing director of HBO Ole and prexy of HBO Latin America Media Services to bring a fresh negotiating stance to HBO sales in Latin America.

A no-nonsense negotiator, Juarez made waves in January when he took HBO film channels HBO Ole and Cinemex off Argentine cable systems after a pricing dispute and, several months later, brokered an exclusive carriage deal for the channels in Argentina with satcaster Galaxy Latin America.

GLA is reported to have paid handsomely for the coup, as much as $50 million for a multiyear deal.

Sole control

Based out of Miami, Juarez’s sole control of HBO raises the question of whether the Caracas-Miami operation will now fold into a single company in Miami.

Before joining HBO, Juarez worked from 1995 to 1998 as managing director of Spanish conglom Sogecable, which made him the most powerful film and TV exec in the country.

At Sogecable, he led the launch of its satcaster, CanalSatelite Digital (CSD), in January 1997. Sogecable detractors criticized him for paying large sums to clinch deals with U.S. studios, but his strategy has seen a fast takeup of 720,000 subs to date for CSD and is now being pursued by CSD rival Via Digital.

The HBO Latin America Group distributes and has stakes in a raft of pay TV channels including Sony Entertainment TV, WBTV — the Warner Channel, Mundo Ole and E! Entertainment TV.

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