Sarbu Steps Down as CME Leader

    Adrian Sarbu Adrian Sarbu

    PRAGUE: The guiding force at Central European Media Enterprises, the Ron Lauder and Time Warner-owned TV network leading the regional market, is shifting with the resignation of CEO Adrian Sarbu, the company has announced. How the change will affect stations such as Prague's TV Nova and Romania's ProTV is not yet clear.

    Sarbu, whose step down is immediate, has led the company's expansion - and recently scramble to deal with declining ad revenues, debts and investor pressures - in his role at CETV for nearly two decades. Having begun service as CME’s partner when it launched Pro TV in Romania in 1995, he rose quickly through the ranks to chief operating officer from 2007 to 2009, then president and CEO, overseeing a transformed operation that headed into the global economic crush with significant investment in regional markets. CME now operates prime broadcasters in six Central and Eastern European markets with an aggregate population of approximately 50 million.

    The company voiced support for recent initiatives, such increases in television advertising prices and carriage fees, and Lauder, CME’s founder and chairman board, thanked Sarbu for "numerous contributions to the success of CME and for the passion, dedication and outstanding creative vision," crediting him for maintaining "market leading positions in difficult macroeconomic conditions and a transitional period in the industry."

    Sarbu said in a company statement, "I am confident the company is well positioned for the future. My mission at CME is accomplished.” He will remain on until January 1, while boardmember Duco Sickinghe leads a committee's search for a replacement.