Woman set to top WDR

Piel comfortably beats male competitors in preliminary ballot

A woman looks set to head Germany’s largest regional pubcaster, WDR, for the first time.

Monika Piel has comfortably beaten a field of male competitors in an informal and preliminary ballot ahead of today’s formal vote, after winning backing from conservative and left-wing members of the web’s supervisory board. 

Her victory prompted the other candidates — including pubcaster ZDF editor-in-chief Nikolaus Brender and NDR corporate attorney Werner Hahn — to bow out of the race.  

Piel, head of WDR radio for the past nine years, is WDR topper Fritz Pleitgen’s hand-picked candidate to take over control of the largest of pubcaster ARD’s nine regional members when he retires in summer.

Piel will become only the second woman to head a pubcaster. Dagmar Reim broke the male lock when she took control of RBB, one of ARD’s smaller networks, in 2003.

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