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Head of Swiss public broadcaster to step down in 2025

SBC director-general Gilles Marchand
Gilles Marchand has been the director-general of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), SWI swissinfo's parent company, since 2017. Keystone / Peter Schneider

Gilles Marchand, director-general of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), will step down in 2025, two years ahead of the official end of his term of office, it was announced on Thursday.

His early departure should allow the new management team to be operational by the beginning of 2025 at the latest, ahead of major political votes and decisions affecting the SBC, SWI swissinfo’s parent company.

A vote on the “CHF200 is enough!” initiative, aimed at a reduction in the compulsory Swiss radio and television licence fee (currently CHF335), is scheduled for 2026.

+ SBC expects major job cuts if licence fee is reduced

Also, the SBC’s future concession is due to be discussed in 2027 and decided in 2028. During this period, “SBC must be able to count on a stable and active management team for the long term”, the board of directors said on Thursday.

+ Swiss government wants to lower licence fee to CHF300

Marchand, who has been director-general since 2017, should have normally completed his term of office at the beginning of 2027, at the age of 65.

The SBC’s board of directors and Marchand decided to bring forward his departure in order to avoid the recruitment of this replacement taking place in 2026 in the middle of a nationwide vote on the Swiss public broadcaster. A call for candidates will be issued shortly.

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Jean-Michel Cina, chair of the SBC’s board of directors, commented: “The major challenges facing SBC over the next five years must be anticipated and dealt with by a senior management team that can take a long-term view. The new financial planning will depend on the outcome of the vote on the initiative and the negotiations on the new concession.”

Gilles Marchand was head of Swiss public television, TSR, from 2001 to 2009, and then created and headed its successor, RTS, from 2010 to 2017. During his leadership of the SBC, Swiss voters rejected the “No Billag” initiative in 2018 [aimed at scrapping the licence fee], a profound digital transformation of public service broadcasting in Switzerland, an increase in SBC’s investment in Swiss audiovisual productions and the launch of the national Play Suisse video streaming platform.

Marchand will remain in office until the new management team takes over. Cina thanked him for “his unwavering commitment to public service”.

This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI swissinfo.ch we select the most relevant news for an international audience and use automatic translation tools such as DeepL to translate it into English. Providing you with automatically translated news gives us the time to write more in-depth articles. You can find them here

If you want to know more about how we work, have a look here, and if you have feedback on this news story please write to english@swissinfo.ch.

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