José Manuel Penalosa, a board member at RTVE, will step into the role at the helm of the pubcaster as acting president with Echenique’s exit taking effect immediately.
Echenique has headed the RTVE since mid-2012. In a note to staff at the Spanish pubcaster he said he was leaving for “strictly personal reasons”.
Spanish reports suggested that the failure of negotiations with the Spanish government over a €130 million (US$166 million) injection of funding into RTVE and difficult relationships with other senior management triggered the RTVE’s boss’s decision to leave.
The broadcaster has faced various funding crises in recent years and has had to negotiate falling revenues. Forced to drop advertising form its air under, it ended 2013 with a deficit of over €100 million.
The pubcaster slashed its 2013 budget by over €20 million, having already reduced it by over €100 million in 2012 and about €30 million in 2011.
In programming terms, the pubcaster’s most notable success during Gonzalez-Echenique’s tenure was the local adapatation of MasterChef.