Central European Media CEO Adrian Sarbu to Step Down

5:34 AM PST 08/21/2013 by Scott Roxborough
Sarbu has been CEO at Central European Media Enterprises since 2007.

Time Warner controls 49.9 percent of the broadcasting giant that focuses on Eastern and Central Europe.

COLOGNE, Germany – Adrian Sarbu has resigned as President and CEO of Eastern European broadcasting group Central European Media Enterprises (CME) after nearly two decades with the company.

Sarbu first joined CME back in 1995 as the company's partner in Romania where CME launched Pro TV. He served as CEO from 2007-2009 and as both President and CEO since 2009. His period as chief executive coincided with the global recession, which hit CME's core territories particularly hard.

STORY: Time Warner Wins Euro Backing for CME Voting Rights

Six month results published June 30 show CME is still struggling. Net revenue for the first half of this year was $317.34 million, down $61 million on 2012 and the company booked a $150.1 million net loss for the period, compared to a $10.7 million loss in the first half last year.

Time Warner, CME's largest shareholder, is betting conditions will improve as the economies of the region recover. TW last year boosted its stake in CME and now  controls just under half the company. TW also owns stock it could redeem in a few years time to boost its stake in the group to more than 60 percent.

CME, which on Wednesday confirmed Sarbu's resignation, said he stay on until January 1, 2014 as the company looks for a replacement CEO. CME board member Duco Sickinghe will lead a committee of directors to ensure a smooth executive transition, the company said.

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