Emilio Azcarraga Jean, the longtime head of Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa, will step down as chief executive of the company but remain as chairman, the company said on Thursday.
Azcarraga has headed the world’s largest Spanish-language content producer for 20 years after taking over from his father who founded the company in 1973.
Two of his top advisers, Alfonso de Angoitia, the company’s vice president and finance chief, and Bernardo Gómez, who oversees Televisa’s news division and government relations, will take over as joint CEOs in January, the company said.
Televisa is one of Univision's leading content providers and part of the investor group that owns Univision Communications Inc.
Televisa's board of directors approved the changes at a meeting on Thursday. Azcarraga, who remains Televisa’s largest single shareholder with about a 15 percent stake in the company, will remain as chairman of the company and will head its charity foundation and the popular Mexico City-based Club América soccer team, which is owned by Televisa.
The resignation comes as Televisa, which had more than $5 billion in sales last year, is grappling with a global upheaval in broadcasting that has seen many younger viewers drawn to offerings by new media companies such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Amazon Video.
The effect on advertising revenues is being felt by all major netowrks and Televisa is no exception. In a statement Azcarraga acknowledged the difficult times for the industry. "Our industry is going through a very important transformation, which presents us with great challenges, but even greater opportunities," he said.
Angoitia and Gómez concurred. "We will look together to continue positioning Televisa to perform successfully in this changing environment," they said in a joint statement.
Televisa sustained its enormous success for many years with the traditional "telenovela," a model that is undergoing important changes both in subject matter and format.
The announcement marked the "end of an era for the company’s founding family," which has run Televisa since its creation, the Wall Street Journal noted. It noted that Azcarraga was credited with the financial turnaround of the company including expanding its satellite TV and cable and telecommunications businesses.