As interim boss, who will lead RBB out of its worst crisis in the coming months? There is no official name yet. And that could probably take a while.
Berlin – The RBB Broadcasting Council meets again for a special session in Berlin in the crisis of the public broadcaster ARD on allegations of nepotism. It is considered unlikely that a name for an interim director will be brought into play there. “Quick shots are forbidden,” said the incumbent chairman of the control committee, Dieter Pienkny, of the German Press Agency in advance. Rather, the meeting is intended to be a discussion of the current situation. At the weekend, Friederike von Kirchbach, Chairwoman of the Broadcasting Council, resigned.
Meanwhile, the search for an interim director for Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) is ongoing. The current management came under criticism when dealing with the scandal of allegations against the director Patricia Schlesinger, who was fired without notice. The RBB editorial committee called for the closed resignation. The ARD directors made it clear that they had lost confidence in the RBB leadership – an unprecedented event in ARD history.
Looking for a legally clean way
Administrative Director Hagen Brandstätter is currently running the business. Because Brandstäter was on sick leave, the longest-serving director – that’s program director Jan Schulte-Kellinghaus – took over the business.
The RBB board of directors, as the second control body, spoke out in favor of an interim solution on Monday. On Tuesday there was a meeting of the committee representatives with state representatives from Berlin and Brandenburg in the State Chancellery in Potsdam – Brandenburg currently has the legal supervision of the RBB.
The fact that such a case for an interim transmitter line is not provided for in the regulations probably has a delaying effect. The RBB State Treaty has no such passage. This means that a legally clean way must now be shown.
There are also voices that could imagine a leader outside of ARD. The Bavarian member of the state parliament, Sanne Kurz, who represents the Greens on the broadcasting council of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation (BR), told the “Münchner Merkur” that new appointments were made to the public broadcasters “often out of the system”. “There are great leaders in the German media landscape, also outside of ARD, who have experience with change processes in big houses.”
In a resolution, employees of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) demanded a say in the appointment of an interim leader and a future director. This should also be recorded in the RBB state contract.
suspicion of nepotism
Schlesinger has been exposed to numerous allegations since the end of June, mainly through reports from the online medium “Business Insider”. She has been ARD chairwoman since the beginning of the year and RBB director since 2016. She resigned from both positions.
In addition to Schlesinger, the focus of the scandal is also the resigned RBB chairman of the board of directors, Wolf-Dieter Wolf. Both rejected the allegations against them. Among other things, it is about controversial consulting contracts for an RBB construction project, about agreements between the two on salary and bonuses for Schlesinger. And it’s about orders for her husband, the ex-“Spiegel” journalist Gerhard Spörl, at Messe Berlin – where Wolf was also chief supervisor until recently. The Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating all three on suspicion of infidelity and acceptance of benefits. It is the presumption of innocence. dpa