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Zeiler To Head RTL TV And Parent RTL Group

Gerhard Zeiler, CEO of RTL Television in Germany since November 1998, is also now CEO of parent company and pan-European broadcaster RTL Group. He replaces Didier Bellens who departed recently to head Belgacom, a Belgian state-owned telecommunications company. Zeiler plans to run the Group headquartered in Luxembourg, and the channel in Cologne. Zeiler has been a member of the board of the Bertelsmann Foundation since September 2002 as well as on the board of M6 for the past year. Bertelsmann owns 90% of RTL, so some had speculated a Bertelsmann insider would likely take over RTL. Zeiler, born in Austria in 1955, started his career as a journalist and then was press spokesman for Austrian chancellors Fred Sinowatz and Franz Vranitzky. In 1986 Zeiler became general secretary of Austrian public broadcaster ORF. He moved to Cologne in 1992 to become CEO of the newly established channel RTL2, left to head ORF in 1994, then returned to RTL as its CEO in 1998.

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