Finland’s public broadcaster Yle names new CEO

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Merja Ylä-Anttila will replace Lauri Kivinen as Yle CEO on September 1st, 2018. (Jussi Nahkuri/Yle)
The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yleisradio’s Board of Directors has named Merja Ylä-Anttila as the company’s new CEO, starting 1 September 2018.

Ylä-Anttila will assume the post when the current chair, Lauri Kivinen, leaves to take up a new position in the private sector.

Merja Ylä-Anttila has worked in the media sector for 30 years.

Since 2001 she has worked for Finland’s largest commercial broadcaster MTV, currently owned by the Swedish publisher Bonnier. Over the last three years, she has also acted as managing director of the Bonnier Broadcast subsidiary, production company Mediahub Helsinki.

“Yleisradio is a prime media outlet if you want to work for the good of Finnish society. I am happy, excited and very motivated to take on this task,” Ylä-Anttila said. “I have a lot of experience in journalism, but also in media business management during times of transformation and transition.”

The future Yle CEO advocated for increased cooperation between the public broadcaster and its private counterparts.

“Now that the media in Finland is in the midst of fierce international competition, cooperation between public broadcasting services and the commercial media is more important than ever. We need a highly functional domestic media that is equipped to provide Finnish residents with the best possible content,” she said.

Managerial experience deciding factor

The board of Yleisradio emphasised Ylä-Anttila’s extensive leadership experience and her comprehensive understanding of the media landscape in Finland.

“Ylä-Anttila demonstrates a good combination of experience, skill and leadership. She knows the field and Yle’s activities well. She has an understanding of development needs brought on by social and technological pressures. As a manager, Ylä-Anttila is a motivator,” said Thomas Wilhelmsson, Yle’s chairman of the board.

The key tasks of the Yle CEO are running the company and handling its finances. The CEO of the public broadcaster does not take part in journalistic decision-making processes.

The search for a new CEO began when the current head, Lauri Kivinen, announced in January that he would be stepping down to pursue a career move. Yle reports that 25 people had shown interest in the position.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: About that bear – Why the media keeps getting the Arctic wrong, Blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Finland: News in Russian still important in Finland, 100 years after independence, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden to spend millions to boost media in rural areas, Radio Sweden

Russia: Report: Russia spread fake news and disinformation in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: ADN newspaper reverts to its older name, Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Public Media

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