The Board of Directors of PRISA, the leading Spanish and Portuguese-language media and communications, education and entertainment group has appointed Juan Luis Cebrián as Chairman of the Group, at the proposal of the outgoing Ignacio Polanco, who was named Honorary Chairman by the Board at the same meeting. It was also agreed to appoint Fernando Abril-Martorell as CEO (previously Deputy CEO) and to name Manuel Polanco Moreno deputy chairman.
Addressing members of the board, Ignacio Polanco explained that after the death of Jesus Polanco, five years ago, a period of transition had commenced under his stewardship that has now culminated with a series of changes now being announced. He noted that during these five years he and his family and associates, have spared no efforts in supporting business continuity. This support was to be seen clearly not only in their ongoing contribution to continuity in management, but was also evident in the their support for changes to the company’s capital structure, in which the family remains the controlling shareholder. “The new shareholder structure”, he added, “and the fact that we are listed on the Madrid and New York stock exchanges, justifies taking this step towards a more professional and independent management culture than that which till now prevailed at PRISA, which was run much like a family business. The continuation of my brother Manuel as deputy chairman of the company symbolizes and ensures our continued support for it and our commitment to its future. I take great pride and satisfaction at being appointed as Honorary Chairman, for both its symbolism and it recognition of my work. I hope to prove myself worthy of that title." Ignacio Polanco, who will continue as Chairman of Timón, PRISA’s reference shareholder, will also continue to chair the Santillana Foundation.
Juan Luis Cebrián, upon assuming the executive chair, and after thanking the Board for their confidence in him, highlighted the generosity and team spirit that the decision taken by Ignacio Polanco means. "During these past five years, and during the thirty I worked closely with Jesus Polanco, I have received nothing but the encouragement and support I needed to face very difficult situations. My goal is to achieve definitive
shareholder stability, maintain our crucial social role, and lay the groundwork for further development, once we have solved the problems related to the excessive debt that we still carry. We still live in difficult times and it is necessary to take urgent decisions and to avoid any ambiguity or confusion, both within the company and in regard to the group’s external image." Cebrián expressed his gratitude to Fernando Abril-Martorell, who joined the company eighteen months ago "and who in such a short space of time has played a crucial role both in the process of refinancing the Group, as well as in its strategic direction, organizational restructuring and operational efficiency. For PRISA, and for me personally, it is a privilege to have someone like him on board. "
At the same meeting Diego Hidalgo Schnurr, who for many years was the second largest shareholder of the company and a member of the board, resigned as director representing controlling shareholders. In a brief statement, he seconded the previous speakers, saying that PRISA was entering a new era and that this was the time for him to leave the Board after more than thirty years. Hidalgo was deeply committed and involved in social responsibility and cooperation through the numerous foundations he created and supported, and he will remain on the Board of Trustees of the Fundación Santillana.
Fernando Abril-Martorell then thanked the Board for his appointment, while expressing his commitment to the Group’s professional teams. "Although much progress has been made in the refinancing and restructuring of PRISA”, he said, “there are still important steps to take in the coming months. This reorganization in the management bodies, consistent with the decisions taken at the last Annual General Shareholders Meeting, will ensure the continuity of our efforts in developing our businesses and the transformation of our model to better exploit the enormous potential for growth. "
Manuel Polanco, meanwhile, echoed the words of his brother Ignacio, stressing that from his position as deputy chairman of the Group, he will maintain the commitment of his family to the future of PRISA.
PRISA is the world’s leading Spanish and Portuguese-language media group in the fields of education, information and entertainment thanks to its multichannel offer of top quality products. Present in 22 countries, it reaches more than 50 million users through its global brands El País, 40 Principales, Santillana and Alfaguara. As the market and audience leader in general-interest press, free-to-view TV and pay TV, spoken-word and music radio, education and publishing, PRISA is one of the biggest media groups in the Spanish Speaking World, with an extraordinarily broad range of assets.
Juan Luis Cebrián (Madrid, 1944) was the founding editor-in-chief of the newspaper El Pais, alongside Jesus Polanco as CEO, in May 1976. He was thereafter editor-in-chief of the newspaper until October 1988 and subsequently CEO, when Jesus Polanco became Chairman. Together, they oversaw the development and growth of PRISA, and its extension into other media and cultural operations. Over the years he has held numerous positions in the administration and management of the various subsidiaries of the Group, including deputy chairman of SER, CEO and deputy chairman of Canal + and Sogecable, and chairman of PRISA International. In November 2008, he became President of the Executive Committee of the Group’s Board of Directors and in May 2011, chairman of El Pais. Cebrián also represents PRISA on the Board of Paris newspaper Le Monde. He is the author of almost twenty books, both fiction and essay on political and media related issues. He has been honored by a number of universities and professional bodies, and since 1997 he has been a member of the Royal Spanish Language Academy. He is married to the journalist Teresa Aranda, has six children and five grandchildren.
Ignacio Polanco Moreno (Madrid 1954) joined Santillana, the company founded by his father, Jesus Polanco, after graduating in Economics from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and obtaining an MBA at the Instituto de Empresa. In November 2006 he was made deputy chairman of PRISA, a position he held until his appointment as chairman in July 2007. He is executive chairman of Timon and the Fundacion Santillana. He has been a member of Prisa’s board since 1993. He also sits on the board of the newspaper El Pais and its editorial board. In his five years as chairman of PRISA he has overseen a comprehensive shareholder restructuring, making the company public on the NASDAQ exchange in New York. He is married to María Jaraíz and has two children.
Fernando Abril-Martorell (Segovia 1962), until now Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer, holds a degree in Law and Business Administration from ICADE (Madrid). He joined PRISA in April 2011. Prior to his appointment, he worked at Credit Suisse where he was CEO of Credit Suisse Spain and Portugal. He had previously enjoyed a successful career at Telefónica, which he joined as CFO in 1997 and where he became CEO in 2000, a post he held until 2003. During his tenure at Telefónica, Mr. Abril-Martorell led the company’s privatization and oversaw its evolution into a global powerhouse with international growth in Latin America, as well as various successful capital market transactions. Mr. Abril-Martorell has extensive financial experience, as, in addition to his six years heading up Credit Suisse, he held the positions of Managing Director and Treasurer of JP Morgan in Spain over a ten-year period, prior to joining Telefónica. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of PRISA since June 2011. He is married to Maria Jesus Garcia Serrano and has six children.
Manuel Polanco Moreno (Madrid 1961), chairman of PRISA TV since October 2010, holds a degree in Economics from the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid. Mr Polanco, whose professional career has been devoted to the company, was appointed Director of Santillana Chile in 1991. In 1992 he was became the Director of Santillana Peru. In 1993, he moved to Mexico City to take over as General Manager of the La Prensa daily newspaper and to launch the Mexican edition of El País. At the end of 1996, and based in Miami, Manuel took over as International Manager of Grupo Editorial Santillana in the Americas. Upon his return to Spain in 1999, he was appointed Chairman of Gerencia de Medios (GDM) and of the Grupo Empresarial de Medios Impresos (GMI). In 2005 he was appointed CEO of Media Capital, a post he held until in 2009 when he became Managing Director at PRISA. Polanco has sat on PRISA’s board since 2001, has been a member of its Executive Committee since 2008, and been on the board of Sogecable (Prisa now TV) since 2006. He is married to Maria Talavera and has two children.
Hi-res images of the executives are available for download at http://cort.as/2Far
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