Mediaset looks set

Tele 5's Carlotti expected to be named boss

MADRID — Maurizio Carlotti, the managing director and general manager of Spanish netlet Tele 5, looks likely to become managing director of Silvio Berlusconi’s giant TV group Mediaset.

According to sources at Fininvest, Carlotti’s appointment forms part of a senior exec overhaul at both Mediaset and its parent company, Fininvest, as the latter, 100% owned by the Berlusconi family, prepares to float a substantial minority shareholding on the Milan stock exchange.

Silvio Berlusconi still holds a substantial stake in Mediaset, even though his interest is now less than the 51% he maintained when the TV division was first quoted on the Milan stock exchange. Mediaset in turn has a 25% stake in Tele 5.

Carlotti declined to comment on any possible promotion at Mediaset.

Other sources in both Spain and Italy suggested, however, that his return to the parent company in Italy may be precipitated by the resignation last month of Giovanni Stabilini as general manager of Mediaset’s rights division.

Homegrown talent

Fininvest traditionally has relied more on executives trained within its own ranks than on managers poached from elsewhere.

Carlotti, who earned his spurs at Fininvest’s huge ad booking agency Publitalia, is regarded within the media conglom as the best homegrown manager it’s got.

Appointed managing director and general manager of Tele 5 in 1994, Carlotti led a remarkable turnaround at Tele 5, which reported profits of $58.5 million for 1997.

Carlotti’s appointment also will further relieve top-level Fininvest execs Carlo Bernasconi and Adriano Galliani of day-to-day administrative responsibilities at Fininvest.

In a separate move, Carlotti will be stepping down as general manager of Tele 5.

Too great a burden

“There is now just too great a burden of work for one person to perform both jobs (at Tele 5),” Carlotti told Daily Variety. If he were to become managing director of Mediaset, where he would report directly to Confalonieri, Carlotti would twin this post with his continuing managing directorship of Tele 5.

With Tele 5 having completed its consolidation in Spain, one large challenge it now faces, said Carlotti, is “the creation of international alliances.” These could begin in Argentina, he suggested.