RTL’s Gerhard Zeiler Named President of Turner Broadcasting System International

Has served as RTL CEO since 2003

RTL Group CEO Gerhard Zeiler has been named president of Turner Broadcasting System International, which operates international and regional-specific versions of TBS networks.

Zeiler has served since 2003 as CEO of RTL, which is a division of Bertelsmann AG and Europe’s largest television production and broadcast company.

Turner Broadcasting operates more than 130 channels in more than 30 languages in about 200 countries.

Here's the release:

International television executive Gerhard Zeiler will join Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.) as president of Turner Broadcasting System International, the company’s global portfolio of branded television networks and related businesses, it was announced today by Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of TBS, Inc.  Presently CEO of RTL Group, a division of Bertelsmann AG and Europe’s largest television production and broadcast company, Zeiler will lead the international division’s continuing effort to strengthen its established interests and develop new business.

“We are delighted that Gerhard is joining us and look forward to the leadership, perspective and wealth of international television experience he will bring to one of the most successful and most strategically important areas of our company,” said Kent.  “His programming success; entrepreneurial experience within a big company; ability to run multiple lines of business; deep understanding of the digital landscape and opportunity; relationships across the media landscape; and passion for the television business combine in a great international partner for me, an exciting leader for the division and a strong addition to our executive committee and the company overall.  We all look forward to working with him to extend our core brands, target and develop new markets and build scale around the world.”

“As a longtime observer of Turner’s networks, I am keenly aware of their strength with consumers and the company’s profile in the international business community,” said Zeiler.  “This move is an opportunity to help grow some of the most valuable media brands in the world and develop new businesses alongside people I admire, like Phil and colleagues across Time Warner I have known and worked with over the years.  This is an exciting time for our industry and for Turner Broadcasting, and I believe in our ability to lead and succeed.”

Turner Broadcasting System International operates versions of core TBS, Inc. brands including CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies, as well as country- and region-specific networks and businesses.  In recent years, Turner Broadcasting has doubled its scale in Latin America, forged strategic media partnerships in Japan and Korea, expanded in the Nordic region and Chile and teamed with Warner Bros. and HBO to leverage Time Warner’s global reach.  Currently, Turner Broadcasting operates more than 130 channels in more than 30 languages in some 200 countries around the world.

As president of Turner Broadcasting System International, Zeiler will have executive oversight for all entertainment and kids networks and media services offered outside of North America; the distribution and commercial operations of CNN’s international services; all of Turner Broadcasting’s international joint ventures; and all licensing and merchandising activity.  Zeiler, who will report to Kent, will lead a 3,800-person division across Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

Zeiler most recently was CEO of RTL Group, a position he assumed in March 2003, and was a member of the executive board of Bertelsmann AG.  Under his leadership, RTL expanded its international television footprint across Western Europe and into Croatia; brought the hit shows American Idol and America’s Got Talent to the U.S. market; and grew its holdings to 41 channels and 34 radio stations in 10 countries.  He started his career as a journalist and later spokesman for two Austrian Chancellors.  After serving as secretary general of Austria’s public broadcaster, ORF, he became CEO of Tele 5 and then RTL II in Germany.  He returned to his native Austria to lead the ORF as Director General.  In 1998 Zeiler was named CEO of RTL, Germany’s biggest TV channel.

Among his many professional honors, Zeiler is the first non-American to receive the prestigious Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award from NATPE.  In 2004, he was named Media Personality of the Year at MIPCOM in Cannes.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.  Turner brands and businesses include CNN/U.S., CNN International, CNN.com and HLN; TBS, TNT, truTV and Turner Classic Movies; Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim; and Turner Sports.