Premiere loses CEO Kofler

Chief exec retiring from media sector

Georg Kofler announced his resignation as CEO of Premiere AG this week in a surprise move that sent company stock tumbling amid uncertainty about the future of the German pay TV group (HR 8/14).

Kofler will leave Premiere at the end of the month. On Monday, he announced he had sold his 1.2 million Premiere shares — equivalent to 1.3% of the company's total stock — for about €23 million ($31 million) last week.

He will be replaced as Premiere CEO by deputy head and company CFO Michael Bornicke.

The move comes just weeks after one of Kofler's greatest coups — wresting back the pay TV rights to Germany's Bundesliga soccer from one-time competitor Arena.

Kofler, who has headed some of Germany's most successful broadcasters over the past quarter century, said Monday that he plans to leave the media business altogether and that the decision was entirely based on "personal life planning."

Without Kofler at the helm and with the U.S. equity crisis putting a damper on major PE deals, rumors that Premiere could become a takeover target seem increasingly unlikely.