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Bronwyn Keene-Young quits e.tv

E.tv chief operating officer Bronwyn Keene-Young has quit following the resignation earlier this week of CEO Marcel Golding.

Keene-Young, who is married to Golding, reportedly handed in her resignation on Wednesday in a strongly worded letter that slams e.tv chairman John Copelyn. The letter exposes the extent of the breakdown in relations between Copelyn and Golding, who together founded the free-to-air broadcaster.

Keene-Young’s mobile phone was switched off on Wednesday morning and she could not be reached for comment.

Her resignation is the latest bombshell to hit e.tv after Golding’s resignation on Monday. This follows his suspension as executive chairman of e.tv parent Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) last week. HCI has a 63% stake in e.tv.

HCI accused Golding of an unauthorised share trade, saying he did not have approval to buy shares worth R24m in technology company Ellies. It said it would pursue a disciplinary inquiry into allegations of “gross misconduct”.

Golding appealed against his suspension in the labour court, but lost that application on Monday morning. He reportedly claimed he was being ousted in a battle for control of e.tv’s editorial independence, something HCI denied.

Former cabinet minister Barbara Hogan also tendered her resignation from the HCI board this week, defending Golding in her resignation letter, saying she was “uneasy with the proposition that the discontent with Marcel’s leadership can solely be attributed to the alleged unauthorised trading in Ellies shares”.

“While the latter required investigation, I am mindful of the briefing that [HCI director] Yunis Shaik gave me when he claimed that Sactwu, a significant shareholder in HCI, had lost patience with the editorial practices of e.tv, citing the failure to give prominent coverage to [economic development] minister Ebrahim Patel’s economic pronouncements, as an instance of such dissatisfaction,” Hogan wrote. Sactwu is the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union.

She said, too, that she was “appalled” at the way the inquiry into the Ellies trading matter had unfolded. “That a subcommittee of the HCI board, which was appointed to inquire into the merits of the allegations, took it upon itself to take such drastic actions, such as the suspension of Marcel Golding … without even a formal report … is unacceptable to me.”

In her resignation letter, Keene-Young said Copelyn failed to explain in a letter sent on Tuesday to e.tv staff that he was “fully aware of the ‘Ellies shares’ matter from early August and that he did nothing about it until early October until all other attempts and threats to get Marcel to resign had failed”.

Keene-Young reportedly wrote in her letter: “Copelyn is silent on how he has attempted to manipulate this company from behind the scenes.

“He fails to tell that earlier this year, when I resisted editorial instructions from Yunis Shaik, he [Copelyn] sought my removal from the company. After pushback from our exco, he agreed to let me stay on provided that I was sidelined into a new position in which news no longer reported to me.

“Copelyn doesn’t tell you that he has told our exco that eNCA’s news coverage is ‘problematic’ for HCI’s other interests and that our news had to be reined in so that it didn’t affect HCI’s ability to source gambling licences from government.

“Copelyn doesn’t tell you that he told me that the line of editorial independence was not one for the news editorial team to determine and nor was it for [e.tv parent] Sabido management to determine. That line would be determined by HCI.” 

Source: © 2014 NewsCentral Media, with Sapa 29 October 2014


FOX INTERNATIONAL CHANNELS APPOINTS HANNELIE BEKKER AS MD OF FIC AFRICA

Hannelie Bekker brings her extensive knowledge of the African TV and film industry to FIC, further consolidating the company’s business development and coverage across the region, which is already served by 10 major FIC brands,  including FOX, National Geographic Channel and FOX Sports

Johannesburg, November 5th, 2014 - FOX International Channels Europe & Africa has announced today the appointment of Hannelie Bekker as Managing Director (MD) of FIC Africa. With first-hand knowledge of the television market in South and East Africa, and strong relationships with African broadcasters, international content distributors and international channel owners, Hannelie Bekker will assume responsibilities for all FIC brands in Africa, including FOX, FOX Crime, FOX Movies, FX, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, National Geographic Gold, FOX Sports, FOX Sports 2 and Baby TV.

Hannelie will be based in FIC’s Johannesburg office and will report to Adam Theiler, Executive Vice President for Southern Europe and Africa.

Prior to joining FIC, Hannelie Bekker was MD of Wananchi Programming Limited, a Wananchi Group company created to develop and manage bespoke channels under the triple play and pay tv provider’s consumer brand, Zuku. During her time in this role, Hannelie established a dynamic Nairobi-based team, which launched 9 channels and created a small portfolio of original regional content..The channels include Zuku Afrika, Zuku Life, Zuku Movies (four channels), Zuku Swahili Movies, Zuku Sports and Zuku Kids.

Before joining Wananchi, Hannelie worked independently through her own company, Octant Strategy and Business Development, a services and partnering provider for the broadcast / media sector. Earlier in her career, Hannelie held several positions in content management and general management at the SABC, the South African public broadcaster.

Hannelie is a Member of the US Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, has served as a juror for the International Emmys 2013, and has twice being included in Digital TV Europe’s annual ‘Euro 50’ list, DTVE’s selection of influential people in the broadband and pay-TV industries.

“Hannelie has the same dynamic spirit that we all share at FIC. She will be an extraordinary asset to FIC, and will lead and extend our operation throughout Africa, which is a key market with a mature business operation and strong brand and affiliate distribution. Hannelie’s experience and track record in senior roles at numerous TV production companies throughout Africa not only make her the best possible person to manage FIC Africa, but also a prominent figure within Africa’s TV industry who can help FIC to consolidate its objectives in the region. I am delighted to welcome Hannelie to our executive team,” said Adam Theiler, Executive Vice President for Southern Europe and Africa.

Source: Company Press Release

Golding resigns from e.tv

Following a dismissed appeal against disciplinary action charges brought about by Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), chairman and e.tv CEO Marcel Golding has resigned. The charges relate to Golding’s purchase of shares in Ellies, a JSE-listed company, which he is accused of doing without board approval.

Golding submitted an urgent application to stop the disciplinary hearing based on the argument that he was employed by Sabido and e.tv and not HCI, which was dismissed by Labour Court Judge Anton Steenkamp.

According to the Mail and Guardian, Golding released a statement internally to the group explaining his resignation:

“I deny these charges. I am of the view that the manner in which HCI intended to conduct my hearing as well as the circumstances which led to the decision to bring charges against me has rendered my employment relationship with HCI intolerable.

“The relationship of confidence and trust between myself and the board of HCI has broken down due to the manner in which the HCI board has conducted itself.

“In the circumstances, I have been forced to resign and I will in due course be bringing a claim of unfair dismissal on the grounds that I have been constructively dismissed.”

Golding maintains that his transaction was carried out “in good faith and at the time believed to be in Sabido’s best interests” and has said the disciplinary action, which he believes was driven by HCI directors John Copelyn and Yunis Shaik, is as a result of his refusal to permit political interference with editorial content.

Source: Screen Africa 29 October 2014