Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) has separated from the last remaining members of the controversial management team around the director Patricia Schlesinger, who was fired without notice. In a message to the broadcaster's employees on the company's intranet, which was available to the German Press Agency, the public broadcaster ARD wrote on Friday that the separation of Hagen Brandstätter as administrative director and Christoph Augenstein as production and operations director had officially been completed.
Interim director Katrin Vernau was quoted as saying: "This is a turning point and will help us to start over at RBB." Reasons and details of the separation were not mentioned there. Even when asked, the broadcaster gave no statement and referred to legal reasons.
A dismissal before the labor court
This means that there is currently no member of the then management of the station, which plunged into a deep crisis over accusations of nepotism and controversial consulting contracts in the summer, left. The program director had recently left the company after an amicable solution had been reached, and the legal director was in turn dismissed. She is defending herself against the extraordinary dismissal before a labor court, but there has not yet been a decision.
The administrative director had been on sick leave several months ago and was no longer involved in day-to-day business. Director Vernau had meanwhile made it clear that his contract, which actually ran until the end of April, should end prematurely.
At the center of the RBB affair are Schlesinger and the resigned chairman of the board of directors, Wolf-Dieter Wolf. Both rejected the felt allegations. The public prosecutor's office in Berlin is investigating both Schlesinger's husband and the administrative director and legal director. The presumption of innocence applies until the investigation is completed. It is unclear how long the investigation will continue.
Affair about bonuses and allowances
Schlesinger's management was increasingly criticized in the affair - among other things because of bonuses that were paid to executives and not disclosed. RBB recently announced that directors have also received an allowance for the ARD chairmanship, which the broadcaster held from January 1, 2022 until the summer.
Meanwhile, it became known through a report by RBB and NDR journalists that the ARD broadcaster had stopped payments for a consulting job by former editor-in-chief Christoph Singelnstein. When asked by dpa, Singelnstein did not comment on the article. A spokesman for the public service RBB said when asked that the payments had been stopped after a tip from the Court of Auditors, and that a conversation had been sought with Singelnstein, who then offered a waiver.