Wednesday, September 27

Fernando Giménez Barriocanal leaves the presidency of COPE

It had been rumored for several days, but so far it has not come true. As has been able to exclusively confirm, Fernando Giménez Barriocanal will leave the Presidency of Ábside Media, the group that controls the COPE network and the TRECE television network, in addition to other media owned by the Episcopal Conference.

The new president of the group, without executive powers, will be José Luis Restán, until now attached to the president. At 63, Restán’s position will be symbolic, without any ability to control personnel or editorial line. For these tasks, two general directors will be appointed: one responsible for the economic aspect, Javier Visiers; and a general director who will deal with the editorial part, Lucía Fernández.

The role in relations with the Government, key to the decision

Among the reasons behind this decision, which has been taken with the utmost secrecy and must be endorsed by the Board of Directors – and by Rome, where Barriocanal and the until now secretary and spokesperson of the Episcopal Conference travel, Luis Argüello, in the next few days–, there is the difficulty of reconciling the control of an editorial line such as that of the bishops’ radio station, which is highly critical of the Government, with the reality of participating directly in the negotiations with the Executive from its position of deputy secretary for Economic Affairs of the Episcopal Conference, a position that Barriocanal maintains. Barriocanal’s responsibilities will increase, in fact, since Argüello, the current secretary, will de facto leave his post this summer after being appointed archbishop of Valladolid

Barriocanal, who has been in charge of COPE since the fall of Alfonso Coronel de Palma in 2010, will continue, however, to control everything related to Ábside Media’s economy with an iron hand. Thus, from the Episcopal Conference, COPE’s largest shareholder, a “very intense” control system will be arbitrated to control the economic parcel. A control that will be weekly and that will supervise the work of the new managers. Because Giménez Barriocanal is leaving, but he will continue to command. At least economically.

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