Boernicke steps down from Premiere

Replaced by supervisory board member Mark Williams

MUNICH -- Michael Boernicke, CEO of Germany's largest pay TV operation, Premiere, has resigned "for personal reasons," effective immediately, the company said late Wednesday.

He will be replaced by Premiere supervisory board member Mark Williams, who until now has been based in London as CFO for News Corp.'s European and Asian operations.

A Premiere spokesman reached Wednesday evening said that Williams will give up his old portfolio to "concentrate his entire energy" on running Munich-based Premiere.

The suddenness of Boernicke's resignation was illustrated by the unusual bilingual nature of the press release announcing it. Biographical information about Mark Williams was only available in English, while the rest of the announcement had not yet been translated from the German.

"At Michael Boernicke's request, the reasons behind his resignation are being treated confidentially," the spokesman said. "The issue came up at this afternoon's supervisory board meeting, and the board was able to come to this arrangement right away."

Boernicke had been with Premiere since 1998, where he came after successfully helping to launch commercial broadcaster ProSieben -- at the time, like Premiere, part of German media mogul Leo Kirch's empire. He had been CEO for one year.