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Troubled HMG’s TV-radio topper ankles

Exit underscores Veronica-CLT/Ufa tension

AMSTERDAM — The troubled Holland Media Group (HMG) was dealt another blow with the resignation last week of Unico Glorie, the group’s director of TV and radio.

Glorie’s ankling underscores the increasing tension between the Veronica Assn., a 35% stake holder in HMG, and CLT/Ufa, which owns the other 65%. Glorie said he would leave three-channel network HMG at year’s end for personal reasons and to explore new initiatives in the market.

But Glorie was the only representative of Veronica on the exec board of HMG and his move underscores Veronica’s threat several weeks ago to pull out of the partnership with CLT/Ufa, also at year’s end.

Most media analysts thought at the time that the threat was a ploy to gain more power on the exec board, but the resignation of Glorie gives it more credence. A Veronica topper for many years, Glorie was one of the prime movers behind the 1995 alliance formed when Veronica, one of the wealthiest and most popular of the Dutch public broadcasters, bailed out of the state system to join up with channels RTL 4 and RTL 5 to form the HMG commercial network.

As a channel, Veronica’s ability to pull in youth and young adult viewers has made it the darling of advertisers in Holland, but its edgier management style clashed with the corporate culture of CLT/Ufa, and Veronica Assn. shareholders have become impatient with the net’s internal squabbles, massive labor problems and disappointing bottom line.

Initially, HMG shareholders also included giant Dutch media company VNU, but VNU sold its stakes several years ago and the problems between the remaining shareholders have been exacerbated since.

Glorie’s responsibilities within HMG included program management of the radio and TV stations, the production house Holland Media House and a multimedia division. In October, HMG chairman Pieter Porsius resigned, leaving only Glorie and three execs from CLT/Ufa running the show. In a late vote, Dick Van der Graaf, former sales and marketing exec of the group, was named chairman of the executive board.

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