Irisarri steps down at Spain’s Vertice

Company faces tough market conditions at home

TAULL, Spain — Jose Maria Irisarri has resigned as CEO and exec prexy of Vertice 360 Group, one of Spain’s biggest film-TV congloms.

Vertice owns 50% of L.A.-based TV production house Powwow.

Irisarri will step down Jan. 18. Holding a 3.27% stake in Vertice, he will stay on as a board member.

Irisarri’s resignation was sparked by the refusal of his board, which includes high-tech company Ezentis and Catalan post-production house Lavinia, to approve the incorporation of an unidentified shareholder that would bolster Vertice’s growth and finances.

Irisarri’s resignation comes as Vertice faces some of the toughest market conditions in Spain in modern times.

Publicly quoted Vertice had net profits of $926,000 in 2010 off revenues of $145 million.

The company is best known for pic production, such as AFM hit “Game of Werewolves,” and indie film distribution in Spain. Its core biz still remains film and TV services, however. These accounted for 58% of sales last year. Vertice has bet that increasingly cash-strapped Spanish broadcasters will outsource more services.

With new Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy declaring Monday that his Popular Party will examine public broadcast models in Spain, there is a danger that, rather than downsizing, some local pubcasters will simply disappear.

This week, Vertice announced a strategic alliance with Argentina’s La Corte, a post-production and facilities house. It is also expanding international sales company Vertice Sales. Growth abroad looks all the more urgent as Vertice faces a contracting economy at home.