Jaume Roures, a founding member and managing partner of Mediapro, the Spanish media rights and production agency, has announced he is leaving the company after almost 30 years.
A statement released by the company’s directors approved a request from majority shareholder Southwind Media for the “disassociation” of Roures.
Roures has been a key figure in the growth of the company, guiding it into sports rights and event production.
He oversaw Mediapro securing the contract to distribute international media rights to Spanish top-tier soccer’s LaLiga in 1998, which was most recently renewed in May this year, running through 2028-29.
Along with Mediapro president and chief executive Taxto Benet, he also helped the company grow its revenues from €150 million ($158.5 million) in the 2009-10 season to over €700 million in 2021-22.
Benet has now said: “The void that Jaume leaves in the group is immense, and from a personal standpoint, I will deeply miss these wonderful decades of working together, side by side, during which we collaborated to build Grup Mediapro and make it what it is.
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“But this wouldn’t have been possible without the people in the group, the best professionals in their respective areas. In this sense, Grup Mediapro will continue to be in very good hands.
“The inspiration and legacy that Jaume leaves behind are an irreplaceable part of Grup Mediapro’s DNA and will always be present in this company’s work, reminding us that people come first, that we should never give up on our ideas and dreams, and that working as Jaume did, we will continue to achieve everything we pursue, no matter how challenging it seems, without fear being an obstacle to what talent and effort set as our goal.”
No reasons have been given for Roues’ departure but reports in Spain have said he disagrees with Southwind Media over the future direction of the company.
Hong Kong-based investment company Southwind holds an 85% stake in Mediapro, while UK advertising group WPP owns the remaining 5%.
Southwind increased its stake from 53% to 80% in July last year, through a wider Mediapro refinancing, with its owning company Orient Hontai having struck the initial deal to buy a slice of Mediapro in June 2018.
The news comes after reports surfaced earlier this month that Southwind is looking to sell its stake in the company, with deliberations at an early stage.
At the end of 2022, the equity value of Mediapro came to €1.26 billion ($1.33 billion), while its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortization, came to €189 million.
Responding to Spanish reports over the reason for Roures’ departure, Benet added: “The management team and its CEO are fully aligned with the group’s shareholder partners, Southwind and WPP, with whom we wholeheartedly share the company’s future vision. In this regard, there has not only been no disagreement about the future model, but there has also been no change in the foundational project or the values the group represents.
“And there won’t be any changes as long as this management team is here, because it’s this team that has implemented them for 30 years, and because our shareholders share our project and values, which were key when evaluating their investment in Mediapro. No one has changed them, and no one wants to change them.”
Founded in Barcelona, Spain, in 1994, Mediapro now has more than 7,000 staff and offices around the world, including in the US.
Along with LaLiga, Mediapro has counted major sports organizations as clients including soccer’s world governing body FIFA and European governing body UEFA, basketball’s governing body FIBA, and the International Olympic Committee.
Mediapro has a deal with LaLiga covering free-to-air rights in Spain running from 2022-23 to 2024-25. That deal, worth slightly less than €14 million sees the agency air one match per week on its sports channel Gol, as well as highlights.
Earlier this month, meanwhile, Mediapro struck an agreement with South American soccer’s governing body Conmebol, to once again handle the host broadcast for the Copa Libertadores Femenina club competition.
Under the agreement, Mediapro’s Colombia arm is now responsible for producing and broadcasting all 32 games during the tournament, totaling more than 1,800 hours of live content. The competition is currently being held in Bogota and Cali, running between October 5 and 21.