RTL 2’S Teutonic tiff

Burda vows suit over axing of net's chief

BERLIN — The sacking of RTL 2 topper Josef Andorfer has caused a rift among the broadcaster’s owners, with one minority shareholder threatening legal action.

The famously independent Andorfer was forced out last week after butting heads with RTL chief Gerhard Zeiler and Tele Munchen topper Herbert Kloiber over the direction of the broadcaster.

Although Munich-based publishing group Burda holds only a 1% stake in the web, Helmut Markwort, editor-in-chief and publisher of company’s flagship news weekly Focus, called Andorfer’s sacking an attempt to bring RTL 2 deeper under RTL Group’s influence.

RTL controls 36% of the web. Tele Munchen and Disney own a joint 31.5%, with Hamburg publisher Heinrich Bauer owning another 31.5%.

Despite Burda’s small stake in the channel, Markwort is an influential figure in the media industry and has called significant attention to Andorfer’s dismissal. He has described an impromptu shareholders meeting held Feb. 1 as illegal due to the violation of established formalities, including the failure to announce the event at least 14 days in advance.

Markwort added that Burda would challenge Andorfer’s sacking in court.

Meanwhile, former RTL 2 sales director Jochen Starke has been named Andorfer’s temporary successor. Former RTL TV news and information chief Hans Mahr as well as Andreas Bartl, head of ProSiebenSat 1’s Kabel 1 channel, are reportedly under consideration for the permanent position.

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