ProSieben CFO Lanz steps down

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COLOGNE, Germany -- Lothar Lanz is stepping down as chief financial officer of one of Europe's largest broadcasting groups, ProSiebenSat.1, the company said Thursday.

As company CFO for the past 11 years, Lanz, a reserved, behind-the-scenes numbers man, has quietly shepherded ProSieben though 11 years of growth and upheaval.

In 1997 he helped take the company public, the first IPO for a television company in German history. Lanz also managed two of Europe's biggest mergers: the 2000 fusion of ProSieben with Berlin-based network Sat.1 and last year's €3.3 billion ($4.9 billion) takeover of pan-European broadcaster SBS.

"For more than a decade, Lothar Lanz has left his marks during one of the most dynamic periods of Germany's television history," said ProSiebenSat.1 supervisory board chairman Gotz Mauser, a partner with PE group Permira, which, together with KKR, controls the German TV group. "In his own calm way, Lanz greatly contributed to the integration and development of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG over the years."

The 59-year-old Lanz is apparently leaving of his own accord, more than a year before his current contract runs out in June 2009. He will stay on until a successor can be found, a move expected by the summer.

One of the last big deals at ProSiebenSat.1 to fall under Lanz's supervision will be the acquisition by Permira/KKR of the 12% stake in ProSieben held by German publisher Axel Springer. The deal, which still has to win approval from German cartel authorities, would give Permira/KKR full control of ProSiebenSat.1's voting shares and a 62.7% capital stake in the public-listed company.
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