The previous administrative director of Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR), Ralf Ludwig, will become the new director of the ARD station. The MDR Broadcasting Council elected Ludwig on Monday in Leipzig for a term of six years to succeed Karola Wille, who is leaving office at the end of October. Ludwig was the only candidate.
The 54-year-old managed the necessary two-thirds majority in the election: Of the 48 Broadcasting Council members present, 33 voted yes, 12 voted against Ludwig, 3 abstained. 32 yes votes were required for the election. Ludwig was unanimously proposed by the MDR board of directors as Wille's successor in January.
He announced that he wanted to improve public acceptance of the ARD broadcaster. It was "a task and an obligation at the same time to strengthen people's trust in reporting and to bring back what was lost," said Ludwig before his election.
Focus on expanding digital offerings
He also wants to continue the transformation process of the MDR "consistently". "One thing is certain: the digital transformation of the media is no longer being reversed," said Ludwig. The goal is a balanced relationship between linear content and online offers. However, the MDR is still “too small and too slow” when it comes to expanding the digital offerings. The structural deficit of the station must also be remedied.
Ludwig has been administrative director of the MDR since 2015 and thus already held one of the highest positions at the three-country institution. The business graduate has held various positions at MDR since 1999. Ludwig was born in Borna near Leipzig in 1968.
The MDR General Staff Council was critical of the selection process and complained about a lack of involvement. In a letter to the Broadcasting Council, it was said that it was largely only in the circle of the administrative boards. The future contract terms would also have to be put to the test.
The MDR was founded after the fall of the Wall
According to the board of directors, 29 applications for the post of director had been received. The chairwoman of the MDR administrative board, Birgit Diezel, had emphasized when nominating Ludwig that he had "excellent knowledge of media policy and, in particular through his work as MDR administrative director, many years of leadership and management experience with high budget responsibility in the MDR".
Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk is one of the medium-sized ARD broadcasters. The transmission area covers Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The station was founded after reunification and started in 1992. The first director of MDR was Udo Reiter, who was replaced by Karola Wille in 2011. The 63-year-old's contract expires at the end of October. She was not seeking a third term.