Sarbu has played a prominent role at CME for nearly two decades, initially being the company’s partner in Romania when it launched Pro TV in 1995.
He subsequently served as COO from 2007 to 2009, before becoming president and CEO four years ago.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CME says that Sarbu will receive a severance payment of $5.4 million to which he is entitled to under the terms of his employment agreement.
Crucially, CME also says that it or one of its affiliates will invest up to $3 million in a content business Sarbu plans to set up when he terminates his employment.
In order to ensure an orderly transition, Sarbu will continue to be employed by CME until January 1, 2014. In the meantime, the company’s board has designated Duco Sickinghe, one of its members, to lead a committee of directors to ensure a smooth business transition while the committee conducts a search for a permanent CEO.
CME says that the board strongly supports the strategies undertaken by CME during 2013, including important initiatives like the increases in television advertising prices and carriage fees, which are expected to produce the most value from CME’s primary businesses, and result in strong performance from the company.
Ronald Lauder, CME’s founder and chairman of the CME Board of Directors, said on behalf of the board: “I would like to thank Adrian for his numerous contributions to the success of CME and for the passion, dedication and outstanding creative vision he has shown since 1995. Over this period, Adrian drove the implementation of CME’s multi-channel strategy and new media initiatives. And he has worked diligently and successfully as CEO to maintain the Company’s market leading positions in difficult macroeconomic conditions and a transitional period in the industry. We are grateful for Adrian’s leadership throughout and look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.”
Adrian Sarbu said: “I am proud to have been a part of CME for nearly 20 years and to have ensured the continued success of the company through this very challenging period. It is an outstanding organization with talented employees. I am confident the company is well positioned for the future. My mission at CME is accomplished.”