PRAGUE (Reuters) - Billionaire Ronald Lauder has resigned as non-executive chairman of the board of Central European Media Enterprises (CME), the broadcast company he founded two decades ago, CME said on Friday.
The company gave no reason for his resignation and a company spokesman was not available to comment.
“I‘m honored to have played a part in the development of independent commercial television in Central and Eastern Europe,” Lauder said in a company statement. “I could not have accomplished so much without the hard work and dedication of everyone at CME over the last 20 years.”
Loss-making CME operates television stations in six markets including Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. It is going through a tough period after many customers in its biggest market, the Czech Republic, rejected a higher pricing strategy meant to regain income lost in a slumping TV advertising market.
Last month it said it had agreed a deal with its main shareholder Time Warner, which bought into CME in 2009, to raise new debt and issue share warrants to help cover the company’s financing needs. It plans to raise up to $545 million in new debt as part of a debt refinancing.
Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Sophie Walker