Grupo Televisa has appointed Bernardo Gomez and Alfonso de Angoitia as co-CEOs in the wake of the departure of Emilio Azcarraga Jean who has led the Mexican television giant for 20 years, and as the broadcaster deals with reduced ad sales and growing competition for young viewers.
He will continue to lead the long term strategy of the firm as Executive Chairman of the Board. In addition, Azcárraga will continue to have direct responsibility for Televisa’s soccer business, including the America soccer team, as well as for Fundación Televisa. The company says the changes will take effect on January 1, 2018.
Azcárraga said, “Our industry is undergoing a massive transformation, presenting us with big challenges, but even bigger opportunities. For over two decades, and through some critical business moments, Bernardo and Alfonso have been driven and passionate executives who have outgrown their current roles at the company. Their new leadership roles will allow me to focus on the company’s long-term strategy.”
Gomez and de Angoitia were instrumental in the successful restructuring of Televisa’s capital structure when the new control group, led by Azcárraga, took over the company in 1997. This was followed by a profound turnaround of the company’s various operations from 1998 through 2000 in order to bring them back to profitability.
Under Gomez and de Angoitia were the renegotiation of the programming license agreement with Univision, which now provides Televisa with a stream of dollar-denominated revenue; the acquisition and consolidation of four cable operations; and the diversification of Televisa beyond its traditional broadcast advertising business into telecommunication services, which now account for over 50% of consolidated revenues.
Today, over 60% of the company’s operating segment income originates in its non-content operations. Over this period of time, the company reached and maintained an investment grade rating, and operating segment income margin has remained at approximately 40%, Televisa said.
Azcárraga’s resignation comes amid a changing landscape. The content division has seen a sharp decline in revenue and profitability in recent years and now accounts for a third of overall sales and less than 40% of operating profit compared with about 60% of sales and 70% of operating income 10 years ago, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Azcárraga is still the company’s largest single shareholder with about a 15% stake. He took over the company in 1997 after his father died.
Gomez and de Angoitia said, “We are honored to be given the opportunity to take on this new role, and grateful to Emilio and the Board for the trust they place in us. Under the leadership of Emilio, Televisa has assembled and developed a very unique set of assets, which we intend to leverage while continuing to drive strong growth in content and telecom services. We look forward to jointly leading Televisa and positioning the Company to excel in this rapidly changing competitive environment.”
In addition to these changes, effective immediately, Salvi Folch, formerly Chief Financial Officer of Grupo Televisa, will become Vice President of Strategic Planning. Carlos Ferreiro will become Vice President of Finance and Jose Antonio Lara will become Vice President of Administration.