Sat.1 makes news with hire

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Torsten Rossmann, who heads up German all-news channel N24, has added the title of co-managing director at commercial channel Sat.1 in a management restructure effective Jan. 1, the broadcaster's parent company, ProSiebenSat.1, said Thursday.

Current Sat.1 head Matthias Alberti will remain as management chairman.

Rossmann will be responsible for information, magazines, marketing and controlling, Sat.1 said. He will replace Nik Niethammer, who was editor-in-chief of Sat.1's magazines and news formats. Niethammer will leave the company at the end of the year.

Sat.1 deputy managing director Volker Szezinski will take over the areas of German fiction, licensed programming and co-production in addition to his responsibilities in program planning.

A Sat.1 spokeswoman said Rossmann will report to ProSiebenSat.1 chief Guillaume de Posch.

"It should be seen as a signal that Sat.1 is going to focus more on news when a managing director is named to head up the division," the spokeswoman said. "Dr. Rossmann is a specialist in that area."

The focus shift could be crucial. Last summer, shortly after ProSiebenSat.1 took over Holland-based broadcaster SBS in the wake of its sale to capital investment companies KKR and Permira, de Posch came under criticism when he announced major cuts to Sat.1's news and magazine division.

At the time, one government official threatened to withdraw Sat.1's broadcast license.
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