BERLIN — Joern Klamroth, co-managing director of pubcaster ARD’s acquisition and production arm Degeto Film, died unexpectedly on Friday. He was 66.

Klamroth, who was set to retire next month, had headed the Frankfurt-based company since 2002. Prior to taking the reins at Degeto, Klamroth served as the TV director of regional pubcaster WDR.

Klamroth oversaw Degeto’s television and feature film activities, including the co-financing of such high-profile projects as Oliver Hirschbiegel’s “Downfall,” Uli Edel’s “The Baader Meinhof Complex,” Heinrich Breloer’s “Buddenbrooks” and Dominik Graf’s acclaimed TV miniseries “In Face of the Crime.”

Volker Herres, ARD’s head of programming, said of Klamroth: “He achieved his goals with persistence, self-will and, above all, persuasiveness. He was a friend and an advocate of quiet words, and he never pushed himself to the fore.”

Added ARD chairwoman Monika Piel: “Joern Klamroth was a passionate program-maker who always dared new things, and thus he surprised and swayed viewers. He knew how to connect brilliant entertainment with high artistic quality.”

The German Producers Alliance praised Klamroth for his role in improving the relationship between the pubcaster and producers: “He knew the importance of the creative cooperation between producers and TV decision makers. It’s therefore not surprising that Joern Klamroth was among those who paved the way for the improvement in the general conditions of production in Germany. We will not forget him.”

In view of Klamroth’s retirement this year, Degeto recently tapped Bettina Reitz, head of film at regional pubcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, to succeed the outgoing topper. She is set to take the new post in May alongside co-managing director Hans-Wolfgang Jurgan.