After Schlesinger’s resignation: Kai Gniffke will become ARD chairman in 2023

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After Schlesinger was released
Kai Gniffke becomes ARD chairman in 2023

Schlesinger, who was fired over clique allegations, plunges the RBB into a deep crisis and there are also rumors in the NDR: he must now fix it. 61-year-old SWR director Gniffke succeeds Buhrow, who has been appointed to transfer. According to him, Gniffke has full support for his mammoth task.

The director of Südwestrundfunk (SWR), Kai Gniffke, will take over the ARD presidency in 2023. This was decided by the ARD directors and committee chairmen according to ARD information in Bremen. After the resignation of RBB director Patricia Schlesinger from the ARD presidency, who was fired without notice, Gniffke started a year ahead of schedule. He succeeds WDR director Tom Buhrow, who holds the position of ARD-Chairman temporarily after Schlesinger’s departure.

The 61-year-old has a mammoth task ahead of him. Gniffke takes over the ARD business at what may be the toughest time for public service broadcasting. The Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) has entered a deep crisis in the midst of the allegations, and the houses in Hamburg and Kiel on the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) are also rumbling. For this reason, the pressure on the public service system is also increasing.

“These are challenging times for ARD that we can only tackle together. These days are particularly clear,” said Gniffke’s predecessor Buhrow on his appointment. “People in the country expect us as a public broadcaster to draw conclusions from mistakes and act transparently.” This is a responsible job where Gniffke has the full support of the community.

An office between prestige and a lot of work

The ARD presidency alternates between the ARD stations from time to time. Large houses are predestined for this because they already provide a large infrastructure. But smaller houses have already held the ARD presidency. As a rule, an intendant remains in office for two years. By the end of the first year, he is confirmed for a second year. The ARD presidency means a lot of extra work for an institution, but also prestige. The ARD chair represents the community as the highest representative and spokesperson for the directors. He enters into a dialogue with politics and society. He also gives his own impulses to the public broadcaster.

The Südwestrundfunk is the second largest broadcaster after the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) and before the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) in the ARD comparison. In 2021, the SWR received more than a billion euros in license fees. The transmission area extends over Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

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