Spanish pubcaster awarded contract to son's company

MADRID — Alberto Oliart has ankled as prexy of Spanish pubcaster Radio Television Espanola.

Oliart announced his resignation Wednesday, calling it an “irrevocable decision taken with immediate effect,” to RTVE’s board of directors. He argued “reasons of a strictly personal nature ” for leaving RTVE.

His departure comes one day, however, after Spanish press reports revealed that RTVE had awarded a contract to Telefonica Broadcast Services, for the transmission of web TVE1’s magazine show “La Manana de La 1.”

A subsid of telco giant Telefonica, Telefonica Broadcast Services is managed by Alberto Oliart’s son, Pablo Oliart.

Although TBS’ offer was reportedly the cheapest bid in the tender launched by RTVE’s acquisitions committee, the contract award to TBS is said to have concerned some RTVE board members, who were not informed of the decision.

The 82-year-old Oliart had threatened before to resign from his post, but never carried through on his threats.

A former minister in various centrist governments between 1977-82, Oliart was tapped as RTVE numero uno November 2009, replacing Luis Fernandez, today prexy of Univision Entertainment and Univision Studios.

Oliart’s appointment by the Spanish Parliament was described at the time as a consensus decision approved by both the ruling PSOE socialist party and Spain’s main opposition force, the conservative Popular Party.

Subsequently, however, the Popular Party has lambasted Oliart, arguing that RTVE’s key newscasts suffer from political interference. It has also criticized the corporation’s outsourcing of services to private companies.

The board of directors has assumed RTVE executive management, pending the appointment by the Spanish Parliament of a new RTVE prexy.

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