Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), the Time Warner-owned operator of Cartoon Network, CNN and TNT, has appointed outgoing RTL Group CEO Gerhard Zeiler to head up its international business.
The news came just after 21.00 CET last night, hours after RTL announced that Zeiler was leaving the company he helmed for nine years to take up a “new, international task.”
His new role will be president of TBS International, putting him in charge of an operation spanning more than 130 channels in 200 countries, excluding the US.
He will have executive oversight for all entertainment and kids networks and media services offered outside of North America; the distribution and commercial operations of CNN’s international services; all of Turner’s international joint ventures; and all licensing and merchandising.
Zeiler will lead a 3,800-person division across Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and report to TBS chairman and CEO Phil Kent.
According to the company, TBS has in recent years doubled its scale in Latin America, forged strategic media partnerships in Japan and Korea, expanded in the Nordic region and Chile and teamed with other Time Warner units such as Warner Bros and HBO to extend the parent company’s overall global reach.
“We are delighted that Gerhard is joining us and look forward to the leadership, perspective and wealth of international television experience he will bring to one of the most successful and most strategically important areas of our company,” said Kent.
“His programming success; entrepreneurial experience within a big company; ability to run multiple lines of business; deep understanding of the digital landscape and opportunity; relationships across the media landscape; and passion for the television business combine in a great international partner for me, an exciting leader for the division and a strong addition to our executive committee and the company overall. We all look forward to working with him to extend our core brands, target and develop new markets and build scale around the world.”
RTL said yesterday that Zeiler would be stepping down on April 18 at the company’s annual general meeting, in news first reported by C21. He will be succeeded by recently appointed chief operating officer Guillaume de Posch and RTL Television CEO Anke Schäferkordt, who will become joint RTL Group CEOs.
Zeiler’s exit comes after Thomas Rabe took over as the new CEO of RTL majority shareholder Bertelsmann on January 1 this year.
Commenting on his new job, Zelier said: “This move is an opportunity to help grow some of the most valuable media brands in the world and develop new businesses alongside people I admire, like Phil and colleagues across Time Warner I have known and worked with over the years. This is an exciting time for our industry and for Turner Broadcasting, and I believe in our ability to lead and succeed.”