Chief executive leaves Vocento

Vargas replaces Garcia

MADRID — Only six months after taking up the post, Belarmino Garcia has ankled as CEO of Vocento, one of Spanish biggest media congloms.

Garcia has been replaced by Jose Manuel Vargas, who has served since November as general director of national markets at Vocento and CEO of its right-of-center daily newspaper ABC.

A regional press giant that plowed cash into film and TV from the mid 1990s, Vocento owns digital terrestrial television channel Net TV, 13% of dominant Spanish free-to-air broadcaster Telecinco and stakes in Spanish light entertainment leader Europroducciones, TV production house BocaBoca, and indie film distributor Tripictures.

According to a document submitted to Madrid’s CNMV stock market authorities on Monday, Vocento’s board of directors agreed “unanimously” Garcia’s resignation and his substitution by Vargas.

Garcia, a former managing director of France Telecom Espana, alleged “personal reasons” for his departure, said Vocento.

But, reportedly, his ouster owes much to turf wars between feuding family factions on Vocento board.

On Jan. 18, the outgoing CEO unveiled a new restructuring plan to analysts covering 2008-2010, aimed at transforming Vocento into the leading multimedia group in Spain, by focusing on clients and markets, rather than different lines of media business.

“Vocento has a lot of new businesses that are either loss-making or yield low profits, and which need to grow critical mass and reach. Its DTT, local TV and radio interests aren’t yet mature,” said Glen Spencer Chapman at Ibersecurities.

Vargas will continue Vocento’s strategic plan launched by Garcia, the company said.