PRAGUE, April 15 Central European Media
Enterprises (CME) named John Billock as its
new non-executive chairman to replace billionaire founder Ronald
Lauder after he stepped down last month, it said on Tuesday.
Billock is a former executive for CME's main shareholder
Time Warner. CME also appointed three others with Time
Warner ties - Gerhard Zeiler, Iris Knobloch and Doug Shapiro -
to the board.
The change is the loss-making central European broadcaster's
latest move to revamp its business in a bid to regain lost
customers and cope with weaker advertising revenue caused by
sputtering economies in the six markets in which it operates.
"The depth of operational and strategic experience they
bring will be invaluable to the Company and its shareholders as
we strive to maximize the value of our leading brands," CME
co-Chief Executives Michael Del Nin and Christoph Mainusch said
in a statement of the new appointees.
CME is going through the toughest period of its two-decade
existence 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.
In February, it said it had agreed a deal with 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 Mark Potter)