Globo gets its man

Brazilian firm taps Reichstul as topper

RIO DE JANEIRO — Media giant Organizacoes Globo has tapped Philippe Reichstul to the new position of president of the group’s holding company Globopar.

Reichstul, who does not have a background in media, will be in charge of the group’s restructuring.

Earlier this year, he ankled his post as prexy of Brazil’s largest corporation, state-owned oil company Petrobras.

The Globo group, privately held by the Marinho family, has almost 25,000 employees. Its operations include leading broadcaster TV Globo, open and pay TV programming, Brazil’s largest cable and satellite operators, three daily papers, a 12-station radio chain, a publishing company, the country’s top printing unit, an Internet portal, feature film production and a recording company, as well as real state and insurance interests and a nonprofit foundation.

Analysts welcomed Reichstul’s appointment and played down his lack of media experience.

“His management skills are what matters,” said Petronio Cancado, an analyst with local bank Unibanco. Cancado stressed that Reichstul’s knowledge of financial markets may be key now that the Brazilian Congress is moving to pass a constitutional amendment that will allow media companies to sell up to 30% of their shares to local and foreign investors.

Globo IPO, partner possible

He said Globo could go public, or find a foreign partner to take a stake. “Reichstul will definitely play an important role, because he is well known (by the market) both here in Brazil and abroad,” Cancado said.

Globopar and TV Globo have debts of $1.8 billion, most of it from investments in pay TV programmer Globosat, cabler Globo Cabo and satcaster NetSat (Sky Brasil), the latter owned with minority partners News Corp. and Liberty Media.

Globo’s debt load was aggravated last year by currency depreciation and a decline in advertising spend.

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