Max Conze is stepping down as CEO of German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, with immediate effect. Chief financial officer Rainer Beaujean has taken on additional responsibilities as he becomes the chairman of the executive board.
Along with Conze’s departure, the company announced late Thursday a change in strategic focus. “ProSiebenSat.1 Group is returning the primary focus of its operating business to the entertainment sector in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland),” the company said in a statement. “Here, the main emphasis is on local and live formats, also in close cooperation with Red Arrow Studios and Studio71. The group’s digital reach is to be further extended, including via the streaming platform Joyn. ”
Beaujean said: “This company has far greater potential than is currently credited to it from outside. Under the leadership of the new executive board team, we will now return to focusing more strongly on our core segment of entertainment and on sustainably profitable business. While the corona pandemic poses a huge challenge for us in the weeks and months ahead, I firmly believe that we will emerge from this crisis all the stronger and return to generating shareholder value.”
Wolfgang Link, who heads the company’s entertainment segment, and Christine Scheffler, head of human resources, have been appointed to the executive board.
Werner Brandt, supervisory board chair of ProSiebenSat.1, said: “The supervisory board would like to thank Max Conze for his service. He has navigated the company through a difficult period with resolution and determination.”
Under Conze’s leadership, the company oversaw a 3% increase in revenue and a 65% boost in profit in 2019, despite a weakening TV ad market. Earlier this month ProSiebenSat.1 posted annual earnings of €412 million ($459.8 million) on sales of €4.1 billion ($4.57 billion).
The company had decided to sell its transatlantic subsidiary Red Arrow Studios that comprises 20 production companies in Europe, the U.S. and Israel. Suitors reportedly included All3Media, AMC, Sony Pictures Television, Banijay and Vivendi. Then the coronavirus pandemic struck and ProSiebenSat.1 decided that the sale wasn’t viable any more.