BERLIN — A surprise candidate, the Swiss lawyer Ure Rohner, looks set to replace Georg Koefler as chairman of the board of German media group ProSieben Media AG, according to sources.
ProSieben’s advisory board is set to make a final decision on Rohner this Tuesday with an announcement expected on Wednesday.
Rohner, who specializes in media, sports and entertainment law, is said to be a favored candidate of German rights trader Leo Kirch whose son, Thomas Kirch, owns 60% of ProSieben. The news comes as Leo Kirch’s Kirch Group is considering closer co-operation with ProSieben.
The key could be Rohner, who is connected with Kirch ally, the Swiss entrepreneur Otto Beisheim. Rohner works as a lawyer for Beisheim’s rights trading entity Metro. ProSieben secures a significant amount of programming from Metro as well as the Kirch Group, which was recently caught up in a tax evasion investigation following an earlier transaction between the two companies. Kirch was cleared of charges.
Kirch is reportedly behind Ludwig Bauer, the former managing director of ProSieben weblet Kabel.1, being moved over to head up the television section of flagship web Pro7.
Kofler has said he will step down when a replacement is found. It has been widely speculated that a replacement would come from outside the company.
The Kirch Group majority owns Pro7’s rival free TV web Sat.1. Eventual co-operation between the two channels could make sense financially.