February 21, 2018 / 3:55 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-ProSieben hires former Dyson boss Max Conze as new CEO

* Conze left Dyson amid acrimony, reached settlement

* ProSieben CEO Ebeling steps down after nine years

* German broadcaster publishes Q4 results on Thursday (Adds background on Conze; Albert to serve as interim CEO)

MUNICH, Feb 21 (Reuters) - German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media has hired Max Conze, the former head of British home appliances maker Dyson, as the successor to departing CEO Thomas Ebeling.

ProSieben made the announcement the day before it publishes the last results of Ebeling’s nine-year term - an era in which its shares rose by 3,000 percent only to falter last year as the group was forced to cut its advertising revenue forecasts.

Conze presided over rapid growth at the maker of vacuum cleaners and hand dryers founded by British inventor James Dyson, but his six-year term ended in controversy last October when he faced accusations of leaking secret information.

The 48-year-old German reached an out-of-court settlement with Dyson in December the terms of which were not disclosed, according to British reports at the time.

Ebeling’s own fate was sealed after he followed a string of missed forecasts with public comments last autumn in which he disparaged ProSieben’s TV viewers as “a bit overweight, a bit poor”.

He stayed on to oversee a restructuring of ProSieben into three divisions spanning entertainment, production and commerce, better to meet the challenge posed by digital rivals to its traditional free-to-air TV model.

Insider Conrad Albert had been tipped to take the helm but, ProSieben said, will serve as interim chairman until Conze starts his new job on June 1. (Reporting by Alexander Huebner and Joern Poltz; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Tom Sims/Keith Weir)

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