LONDON — Adrian Sarbu is stepping down as prexy and chief exec of Central European Media Enterprises, which owns TV webs across Central and Eastern Europe. Time Warner owns 49.9% of CME.

Sarbu has played a leading role in the company for nearly two decades. He was CME’s partner when CME launched Pro TV in Romania in 1995, and subsequently served as chief operating officer of the company from 2007 to 2009. Since 2009 he has been prexy and CEO.

Ronald Lauder (pictured), CME’s founder and chairman of the board, said: “Over this period, Adrian drove the implementation of CME’s multi-channel strategy and new media initiatives. He has worked diligently and successfully as CEO to maintain the company’s market leading positions in difficult macroeconomic conditions and a transitional period in the industry.”

Sarbu will continue to be employed by CME until Jan. 1, 2014. The board has tapped Duco Sickinghe, a member of the board, to lead a committee of directors to ensure a smooth transition while it conducts a search for a new CEO.

CME has adopted a number of new strategies this year, including increases in television advertising prices and carriage fees.

CME operates businesses in six Central and Eastern European markets with an aggregate population of about 50 million people.

It broadcasts television channels in Bulgaria (bTV, bTV Cinema, bTV Comedy, bTV Action, bTV Lady and Ring.bg), Croatia (Nova TV, Doma Nova World, and MiniTV), the Czech Republic (TV Nova, Nova Cinema, Nova Sport, Fanda, Smichov, Telka and MTV Czech), Romania (PRO TV, PRO TV International, Acasa, Acasa Gold, PRO Cinema, Sport.ro, MTV Romania, PRO TV Chisinau and Acasa Moldova), the Slovak Republic (TV Markíza, Doma, Dajto and Fooor), and Slovenia (POP TV, Kanal A, Brio, Oto and Kino). CME also operates Voyo, the pan-regional video-on-demand service.

CME is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and the Prague Stock Exchange.