MADRID — One of Spain’s best known TV execs, Tele 5 general manager Mikel Lejarza, will ankle his post Thursday to join Spain’s giant media company, the Correo Group.
As director of the Correo Group’s film, TV and new technology activities, Lejarza will become a board member of the Madrid-based multinational, the Arbol Group, representing the Correo Group, which holds a 20% stake in Arbol.
Lejarza will also become a partner in Arbol, taking out a minority stake in the company, the biggest indie TV production house in the Spanish-speaking world.
Lejarza’s general manager responsibilities at Tele 5 are expected to be assumed by Paolo Vasile, already Tele 5’s managing director.
At Arbol, Lejarza will be responsible for the company’s expansion into growth areas, including the Internet, digital terrestrial television (DTT) and co-productions.
Lejarza leaves free-to-air Tele 5 at a high point in its history. Boosted by “Big Brother,” broadcast since April, Tele 5 has become the highest-rated TV channel in Spain. Its 1999 net profits were $107 million, net revenues $498.8 million. Tele 5’s first half 2000 revenues could be 25% up on the same period in 1999.
Joining Tele 5 in 1995, Lejarza worked closely with Maurizio Carlotti, then managing director of Tele 5, in creating Spain’s biggest TV production center Estudios Picasso.
With Lejarza as Tele 5 general manager from May 1999, the broadcaster has also powered into international mini-series co-production, much with Taurusfilm and Kirch Media, and signed targeted long-term product deals with Hollywood pic producers such as Joe Singer Entertainment, Wildwood Enterprises and Hyde Park Entertainment .