Resignation after verifying that in the board of directors “the minimum conditions for consensus do not exist”
The president of RTVE, José Manuel Pérez Tornero, announced on Monday his resignation after a year and a half at the head of the public entity. The latest internal clashes, marked by a few convulsive months within the chain, and the constant criticism of his management from within the board of directors, especially by the advisers proposed by the two partner parties of the Government, have forced the departure of who He came to the public body as a man of consensus, elected by a majority, both in Congress and in the Senate, after a pact between PSOE, PP, Podemos and PNV. Tornero will be replaced by a member of the board of directors, who will have to leave an agreement between socialists and popular, for which the journalist and former presenter of the ‘Telediario’, Elena Sánchez, is being considered.
Tornero, (Almería, 68 years old), journalist, doctor in Communication Sciences and professor of Journalism at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, was the strongest candidate of the Socialists to preside over the corporation, thanks to his profile committed to the public media . But the idyll has lasted 18 months. In recent months he had lost the confidence of the Government and for a few days his departure from the public entity was taken for granted after being called to Moncloa to express his discontent and convey that more weight was going to be given to the current Director of Content Generals, Jose Pablo Lopez. This was signed last April, months after being dismissed as general director of Telemadrid by the Madrid president Isabel Díaz Ayuso.
It has been Tornero himself who has confirmed his resignation in a long letter in which he says he has verified that within the highest administrative body of RTVE “the minimum conditions for cross-sector consensus no longer exist, nor for the formation of a majority plural, stable and coherent; and, on many occasions, not even the climate conducive to the dialogue that we need to complete the project. Which, he adds, “makes the governance of the company very difficult, and prevents carrying out the transformation to which we had all committed ourselves.”
«I came to add and build, and I leave with a clear conscience. I return to my university with the satisfaction of having done everything possible to contribute to building a public, plural and independent radio and television that meets the demands of our time and as our country deserves”, he concludes in a letter in which Tornero takes the opportunity to thank the Cortes and the parliamentary groups for their trust that elected him in March 2021 after examining the ninety applicants who presented themselves to the public competition to fill the position.
Tornero’s management at RTVE, a colossal entity with 6,400 workers, has had from the beginning the ballast of audiences, which have not finished picking up in the last year and a half, and which has scored historical lows on its star channel, La 1, which closed last August with an 8.1% audience share –a ‘floor’ that it had already marked in June 2021–, very far from its main competitors, Antena 3 (13.4%) and T5 ( eleven%).
The cancellation in July 2021 of the noon program ‘Las cosa claras’ and the dismissal of its presenter Jesús Cintora were also not exempt from controversy. Cintora’s departure even reached Parliament, where ERC and United We Can request Tornero’s appearance to explain the reasons for the decision, and even from the purple formation they came to ensure that “a crusade” had taken place against ‘The clear things’ at the hands of the PP and Vox, attributing his departure to a political dismissal.
Tornero came to RTVE to replace Rosa María Mateo, who held the position of provisional administrator of the entity between 2018 and 2021. Her appointment, agreed between the two major parties, has in fact meant the only major agreement between the PSOE and the PP, which then it was chaired by Pablo Casado. But the ‘electric chair’, as this position is known, has defeated the old consensus.
RTVE sources point out the difficulties that Tornero has encountered when managing a board of directors marked by a political profile and in which four of the new directors were proposed by the PSOE, three by the PP, two by Podemos and one by the PNV. «Tornero has tried to please everyone, which implies that the PP has enjoyed its share of power when it comes to making appointments, and now that we are going to enter an electoral year with the municipal and regional elections in May, the Government does not want the PP with so much weight in RTVE ». The people consulted maintain that this is the underlying reason why Tornero has been losing support from the sector of the council closest to PSOE and United We Can.
Nor are the workers of the house happy about the internal management, with the replacement of employees who are retiring at the age of 63 by personnel with temporary contracts, in the absence of calls for open oppositions, the last one in 2008.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.