Government sacks VRT chief

The Flemish government has dismissed Paul Lembrechts, the CEO of the Flemish public broadcaster VRT, which also operates flandersnews. 

The decision to sack Mr Lembrechts follows major disagreement at the top of the broadcaster.  At the end of 2019 Mr Lembrechts and all other members of the top VRT management team requested the sacking of one of their number, Media and Production Director Peter Claes, but the VRT board refused.

Mr Claes wasn’t sacked, but his tasks were taken away from him.  A mediator was also appointed but he failed to sort the problem.

Former VRT CEO Leo Hellemans (photo below) is being appointed as VRT CEO ad interim. The procedure to appoint a new VRT CEO will start as soon as possible.  Flemish media minister Benjamin Dalle (Christian democrat) told reporters that the new CEO should be at work before the summer. Mr Dalle emphasized that the new CEO would have a major say in the new management contract that has to be negotiated between the broadcaster and the Flemish government setting out what services VRT should provide in return for government cash.

Leo Hellemans stressed the need to restore calm at the top of the VRT and added that he would now consider the composition of the management team that he would put to the new VRT board that reflects the new political landscape following last year’s elections.  

© VRT - Bart Musschoot