Monday, December 11

Javier Visiers replaces Giménez Barriocanal at the head of COPE



Middle Apse—the media group that encompasses the main media of the Church, with COPE and Trece TV at the head – has reorganized its leadership this Thursday, after approval by the shareholders’ meeting and the board of directors of the changes that ABC already advanced a few days ago. On the one hand, after twelve years at the helm, Fernando Giménez Barriocanal leaves the executive presidency of the company to focus on the deputy secretary for economic affairs of the Episcopal Conference.

To replace him, the Board of Directors has agreed the appointment of José Luis Restán as the new non-executive chairman and Javier Visiers as the new CEO. In addition, it has also decided to create a non-executive vice-presidency that will be assumed by José María Albalad, until now director of the Secretariat for the Support of the Church and advisor to the Group in the last year.

Although Giménez Barriocanal will no longer be at the head of the group’s governing bodies, the decision that has been ratified this Thursday does not distance him from the ecclesial media. The vice-secretariat for economic affairs, where he has been since 2005, represents the EEC in the media in which it is a shareholder majority —as is the case of Ábside Media— “by monitoring the activities of the company together with the new CEO in the economic and management part”. In a balance of his 12 years at the head of the group, Barriocanal has been “very satisfied with the coherence and editorial unity that we have achieved in all our brands and media.”

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José Luis Restán assumes the presidency of the company, which in this new stage will not have executive functions. In addition, he will maintain the Editorial Management for which he was already responsible. Born in 1958, Restan has been linked to COPE since 1990where he has been news editor, director of El Espejo and La Linterna de la Iglesia and, in recent years, responsible for the editorial line and attached to the director.

Restán, who is also a regular contributor to ABC, explained after his appointment that «Ábside media, attends a process of internal transformation to continue growing in an increasingly competitive environment and context and we do it without giving up our ideology».

On the other hand, Javier Visiers Lecanda, current CEO of Cadena COPE, remains the strong man in the executive branch. The new CEO will assume direct management of Ábside Media and will report to the majority shareholderthe Episcopal Conference, through the vice-secretary for economic affairs directed by Barriocanal.

As Visiers explained to the shareholders, in this new stage «we need to anticipate the changes that are taking place and that will continue to be produced in the form of consuming content in the future. In this sense, he explained that “we no longer only talk about radio or television but rather about content and we need to be prepared to continue being relevant to the user and compete with the rest of the ‘players'”.

Visiers’ career —who was born in Fuenterrabía (Guipúzcoa) in 1977— has been linked to the COPE chain since 1999, where he began as head of news at the Guadalajara station. In recent years he has been Giménez Barriocanal’s right-hand man and has been climbing in various positions of responsibility until the general management of the station, which he reached in January 2021.

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At the appointment of Jose Maria Albalad —who is director of the Secretariat for the Support of the Church— for the non-executive vice-presidency, they add that of Lucia Fernandez del Viso as CEO and the Ana Aguado, as commercial director. Both positions depend organically on the new CEO.

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