Thursday, April 19, 2007

Never a dull moment at PCM

There is news again from PCM; but solid news this time. The Dutch newspaper and book publishing company has a new chairman of the board of directors. After all, but one of the board members have left, Mr Rob Bonnier has been appointed as the chairman, be it ad-interim.

The Foundation Democracy and Media, the major shareholder in the company, has appointed Bonnier, installing, at last, an experienced director. He finds Mr Caspar Broeksma, next to him as an ad-interim director.

Mr Bonnier has a lot of experience in the governance and management of stock quoted companies. He was the cfo of the paper company KNP BT from 1983 till 1997. Presently he is the chairman of the board of directors of DSB Bank and has some other directorships.

What is the governance and management state they find PCM in? The Foundation of Democracy and Media, after Apax’s exit, again the major shareholder of the company, needs shaping up with strong governors. The board of directors needs another two directors, as the old board has left, except for Mr Strengers. The daily management needs at least a new CEO, as now only Mr Bert Groenewegen, the financial man, is in function and is the last informed link to the company.

What do they find on their plate? Besides solving the immediate management situation, they will have to look into the merger talks that have been going on with the Foundation of Democracy and Media and the NDC/VBK, the Northern regional newspaper and national book publisher, since the beginning of the year. So far the CEO of NDC/VBK, Mr Jan Roos, has been tipped as the new chairman of the board of directors of the merger company PCM – NDC/VBK (my god what a name!).

On the other hand Mr Bonnier and Broeksma will find another problem on their plate. They will have to deal with the MNa, the Dutch monopoly watchdog. Their merger is going to be a major media concentration in Dutch newspaper world as well as in the book publishing world. MNa will have to consider the situation that after a merger there will be three major newspaper publishers: De Telegraaf, Royal Wegener and the PCM – NDC/VBK combination. De Telegraaf, a national newspaper company, wants to expand in broadcasting through its SBS link. Royal Wegener, a regional newspaper company, is being courted by the Europe oriented newspaper company MECOM. And the new combination has national and regional newspapers and will be dominant in book publishing. NMa might approve the merger, but with many condition.

So besides strengthening the governance structure of PCM, new daily management, most likely ad-interim, is needed immediately, while the new board members steer their merger plans passed the NMa. After a wild period at PCM, a new period might follow in which a solid strategic course for company can be set out in silence.

Blog Posting Number: 728

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