ABS-CBN top exec resigns amid franchise denial


    ABS-CBN Corp. chairman emeritus, Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III yesterday resigned from the network and stepped down from his positions in other Lopez-owned companies citing personal reasons.

    Lopez’ resignation comes two months after lawmakers rejected the network’s bid for a franchise.

    In a statement, ABS-CBN said Lopez tendered his resignation as chairman emeritus and director of ABS-CBN, and director of ABS-CBN Holdings Corp., Sky Vision Corp., Sky Cable Corp., First Philippine Holdings Corp., First Gen Corp. and Rockwell Land Corp. effective immediately.

    At the organizational meeting held yesterday , the Board of Directors elected Mario Luza Bautista as director of ABS-CBN.

    He has served as the general counsel of the ABS-CBN and a member of the Board of Advisors of the company since 2011.

    He is also a Board Adviser of First Philippine Holdings Corporation. He is a Founding Partner of the Poblador Bautista and Reyes Law Office and has been its Managing Partner since 1999.

    Carlo Katigbak, ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer, in his speech at the virtual annual stockholders meeting yesterday, the network will continue to operate despite the difficult times.

    “We will continue to face difficult times in 2020. Correspondingly, we have undertaken measures to ensure the continuity of our operations. In response to the current situation, we have reduced the number of programs we produce to save on cost and focus on those that have the largest audiences,” Katigbak said.

    The network had retrenched nearly 5,000 employees following the denial of its franchise.

    ABS-CBN said it will continue to bring shows to people via cable TV and satellite partners, through the internet over their own websites and partner platforms like Facebook and Youtube, and all over the world in partnership with global media companies.

    In 2019, the network’s revenue growth was a healthy 7 percent, with total sales increasing from P40 billion to P42.8 billion. Net income stood at P2.9 billion, up 55 percent from P1.9 billion in 2018.

    “However, due to the denial of the franchise of ABS-CBN, the inaction of the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN Convergence, and the closures of Kidzania and the ABS Experience Store because of COVID-19, we were constrained to take a one-time, asset impairment charge of P5.6 billion. This reduced our net income from P2.9 billion to an accounting net loss of P2.6 billion. These impairment charges have no impact on cash flow,” Katigbak said.