RBB director gives up ARD chairmanship after allegations

For weeks there have been allegations against Patricia Schlesinger, the director of the German RBB (Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg) and ARD chairwoman. She has now resigned from the latter function. WDR director Tom Buhrow is to take over the business by the end of the year. Schlesinger’s future as artistic director at RBB initially remained open.

At the end of June, the online medium Business Insider started the case and has reported new details since then. It’s about possible conflicts of interest, consulting contracts and also about Schlesinger’s salary. An external investigation is currently underway at a law firm. Results are not yet available, they are expected in several weeks.

Cheap sedan?

The room is about whether Schlesinger and the transmitter chief controller Wolf-Dieter Wolf could have maintained a too lax approach to the possible collision of interests. Both rejected the allegations. Consulting contracts for an RBB construction project that has now been put on hold and orders for Schlesinger’s husband at the state-owned Messe Berlin play a role. In addition to his RBB function, Wolf is also the chairman of the supervisory board of the trade fair.

There is also criticism of a significant increase in Schlesinger’s salary to a good 300,000 euros and expenses for guests who Schlesinger received in her private apartment – the costs for food and drink are said to have been settled via the contribution-financed ARD broadcaster. It is also about a limousine and driver that Schlesinger was allowed to use privately. The car manufacturer is said to have given an exceptionally high discount so that the car would fit into the broadcaster’s budget. According to RBB, this is a “commercial discount customary in the industry”.

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