Pharma boss new CEO at ProSiebenSat.1

Thomas Ebeling to take over struggling broadcaster in March

COLOGNE, Germany -- Thomas Ebeling, the ex-CEO of pharma giant Novartis Consumer Health, will take over the top job at troubled Pan-European broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, ProSieben announced Tuesday.

Ebeling will replace Guillaume de Posch, who resigns at the end of the year. Company CFO Axel Salzmann will act as provisional chief executive until Ebeling takes up the job on March 1.

Ebeling will have the unenviable job of trying to turn ProSieben around after a disastrous year that has seen profits slump, debt surge and its share price collapse. ProSieben shares jumped 7.5% on news of his appointment but at 1.44 euros ($1.80), the stock is still down more than 90% on last year.

While he has no direct media biz experience, Ebeling said he brings with him "20 years (of) dealing with the media" as an executive in companies from Pepsi-Cola Germany, where he served as general manager, to Novartis, where, as CEO from 2000-07, he oversaw a doubling of corporate revenue from $11 billion to $22.6 billion.