Azcarraga leaving as head of Mexico's biggest TV network

Markets Associated Press

Mexico's largest television network announced Thursday that Emilio Azcarraga Jean will step down as Televisa's chief executive officer, but remain as chairman of the board, ending three generations of direct management of the company by his family.

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Azcarraga Jean said in announcing his move that "our industry is undergoing a massive transformation," an apparent reference to competition broadcasters face from internet-based TV services.

Two longtime Televisa executives, Bernardo Gomez and Alfonso de Angoitia, will take over as joint CEOs starting Jan. 1. Gomez, an executive vice president, has been with Televisa for almost 20 years. De Angoitia was formerly Televisa's chief financial officer and sits on the boards of several other major Mexican companies.

"Their new leadership roles will allow me to focus on the company's long-term strategy," Azcarraga Jean said.

The network was founded by his grandfather, Emilio Azcarraga Vidaurreta, as Telesistema Mexicano in the 1950s. His father, Emilio Azcarraga Milmo, ran it for decades.

Azcarraga Jean will continue to oversee the network's soccer operations, including the first-division Club America team.

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Andrew Paxman, who wrote a biography of Azcarraga's father and is a historian at Mexico's Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, said "it's not the end of an era that some are saying."

"Azcarraga Jean has been a figurehead for many years, and even when he took over in 1997 it was very much as part of a team effort," said Paxman. "Televisa's business model has always depended greatly on good relations with the government, and that's been Gomez's domain for most of the last 20 years."

Gomez is former president of the Mexican National Chamber of Television and Radio Broadcasters, an industry group.