The Flemish government has revealed Paul Lembrechts, a 58 year old New Flemish Alliance manager, will succeed Leo Hellemens as the delegate administrator of VRT, the public Flemish radio-television.
Paul Lembrechts has had a varied career. A qualified vet, he has worked as a presenter on a regional channel and as a writer for VRT. He then chose to work in the private sector.
He worked for Master Foods Belgium (that marketed the Mars chocolate bars), where he was a supervisor then a manager. In 1995, he went into banking with Générale de Banque, which became Fortis, the company owned by ABN Amro. He then joined Crédit professional (BKCP).
Paul Lembrechts was chosen from a dozen candidates, after making the shortlist of three.
He will have to implement the new budget cuts called for by the Flemish government, which are supposed to make VRT more efficient for as little as possible.
The government has criticised the fact that he had already been given a New Flemish Alliance position. “Politics had nothing to do with” his nomination, according to the Flemish Media minister Sven Gatz (Open Vld).
The new VRT boss’ lack of experience in media is not an insurmountable problem, according to the Flemish First minister Geert Bourgeois (New Flemish Alliance). “He is a modern leader who knows how to bring about change, and will know how to do it within the complex VRT structure”.