May 16, 2018 / 11:23 AM / 2 months ago

Next ProSieben CEO to shareholders: Judge me in three years

MUNICH (Reuters) - The next CEO of ProSiebenSat.1 (PSMGn.DE) urged shareholders on Wednesday to be patient as he prepares to take the helm at the German broadcaster, recently dropped from the DAX blue-chip index after prolonged share-price underperformance.

Max Conze, former CEO of British home appliances firm Dyson, was making his first public appearance since being named to replace Thomas Ebeling. He starts the job on June 1.

“If we don’t succeed in clearly raising our share price in three years, then I stand ready to be held to account,” Conze told ProSieben’s annual shareholders meeting. “But please don’t judge us from quarter to quarter.”

Ebeling presided over a 30-fold increase in ProSieben’s share price during his nine-year tenure but was ultimately undone by a series of forecast downgrades resulting from overly optimistic estimates of advertising revenue.

Before leaving, Ebeling oversaw a restructuring of ProSieben into entertainment, content and e-commerce divisions, simplifying a structure that had been viewed by some analysts as a clumsy attempt to diversify away from its core free-to-air TV offering.

Conze, 48, backed the strategic shakeup and said he was counting on the creativity and passion of his team to succeed.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “The potential of our business model is still enormous.”

ProSieben put in a solid performance in the first quarter but a warning that core earnings would be weak in the second and third quarters triggered a selloff in its shares, which have fallen by a fifth over the past year.

Reporting by Joern Poltz; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Jon Boyle

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