Spanish media giant Prisa names new head of El Pais
Spanish media giant Prisa, which is undergoing major restructuring amid heavy debts, on Tuesday announced a shakeup in the management of its leading El Pais.
Jose Luis Sainz, who currently heads Prisa's competitor Vocento, takes over as executive chairman of the group's press division and chief executive officer of El Pais, it said in a statement.
At El Pais he replaces Juan Luis Cebrian, who becomes chairman of the paper as part of a "reshuffle of the board."
Sainz held several posts at Prisa before leaving two years ago for its rival Vocento, which publishes the conservative daily ABC.
The centre-left El Pais is Spain's leading daily but its distribution declined 5.5 percent in 2010 to an average 370,080 copies per day.
Prisa reported a net loss of 72.9 million euros ($105 million) in 2010 after making a net profit of 50.5 million euros in 2009.
The group's shareholders last November approved a merger with US investment group Liberty Acquisitions Holdings, which was to inject some 650 million euros into the Spanish firm.
Prisa, founded after Spain returned to democracy following the death of military dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, had been seeking fresh capital since early last year to refinance its debt of nearly 5.0 billion euros.
In December, Prisa closed down its all-news channel CNN+, a joint venture with Turner Broadcasting, a unit of Time Warner.
And in January it announced 2,500 job losses worldwide, equal to 18 percent of its total staff spread across Spain, Portugal and Latin America.
Despite the Liberty deal, family members related to Prisa's founder, Jesus de Polanco, continue to retain management control of the company although its holdings fell to about 35 percent from 70 percent.
© 2011 AFP