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Power out at RTL: Eyre stepping down

Exec apparently frustrated by limited power

LONDON — Richard Eyre, director of strategy and content for RTL Group, is ankling his position after only 14 months on the job.

Although his exit is yet to be made official — that will come with RTL’s annual results on Wednesday — the former ITV network chief exec is believed to have been frustrated by his limited power at RTL, the company created by the merger of CLT/Ufa and Pearson Television a year ago.

Eyre left ITV to become Pearson TV chief exec, the post vacated by Greg Dyke, now director general of the BBC; the merger followed shortly after. CLT/Ufa chief exec Didier Bellens and chief operating officer Ewald Walgenbach retained the same jobs within RTL, relegating Eyre to No. 3 in the hierarchy. A source said Eyre felt it was time to move on after the successful integration of RTL’s components.

Taking a run at Trib

In a separate story, RTL is reportedly eyeing Tribune Broadcasting as a gangplank into the U.S. market. According to German weekly Der Spiegel, the European broadcaster is in talks with Chicago’s Tribune Co. for a stake in its broadcasting group, which includes 22 TV stations in the U.S.

RTL has long been rumored to be after NBC, but it has had little luck in persuading General Electric to part with the web.

The group has been looking to expand its international operations since Bertelsmann’s majority acquisition of the company last month. One of its top priorities, RTL said last week, is expansion in the Spanish market, which will include upping its 16.3% stake in leading web Antena 3, and boosting its cooperation with Spain’s Telefonica in TV and the Internet.

(Ed Meza in Berlin contributed to this report.)

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