CME's Adrian Sarbu ascends

CEO Michael Garin exiting at year's end

LONDON -- Central European Media Enterprises COO Adrian Sarbu will take the top job at the private equity-backed Eastern European media group.

The decision followed the news Monday that CEO Michael Garin will step down at the end of the year.

Sarbu will take the position of president and remain COO of the Prague-listed broadcasting group, while Garin will become vice chairman of the CME board, founder and chairman Ronald Lauder said Monday.

CME, which owns 7 commercial stations in countries including Croatia, the Czech Republic, Romania and Ukraine, has seen its shares almost halve in the past 12 months on fears of a downturn in emerging markets. Garin, who has headed the group since 2004, had earlier seen CME grow almost fivefold on his watch.