The signs were on the wall, and now management musical chairs have begun with earnest at two of the most troubled companies listed on Germany's Neuer Markt exchange.

Advanced Medien had indicated at the weekend that changes were afoot at the debt-ridden outfit when it was declared that it expected its supervisory board "to make key personnel decisions and initiate organizational measures regarding the future development of the company".

The supervisory board's inaugural meeting on Monday evening thus decided to relieve Christophe Montague "with immediate effect" from his position as chairman of the executive board and accepted Dr. Andreas Hoffmann's resignation - as from March 31 - as board member with responsibilities for Legal and Business Affairs and Human Resources. Coordinating Advanced's film distribution operations remains in the hands of Veronika Morawetz, while former banker Otto Dauer, until now managing director of the marketing agency Dolce Media created by TV presenter Thomas Gottschalk and brother Christoph, was appointed as the new board member responsible for Finances. A decision on a third board member will made by the supervisory board "in the near future".

Meanwhile, the other Neuer Markt casualty EM.TV has named Rainer Huether, until now Kirch New Media's board member and spokesman, as its executive board member responsible for Sales & Marketing after his predecessor Hans P. Vriens stepped down yesterday (March 5) "due to insurmountable differences about the strategic direction of the company".

Before taking up his post at Kirch New Media in January 2000, Huether had served since 1996 as the managing director of the German sports channel DSF and had also managed DSF SportMarketing where he had been responsible for the marketing of international sports events and the channel's merchandising activities.

This particular background will doubtless be of key importance now that EM.TV and Kirch own 75% of the Formula One holding SLEC, and the appointment also gives mogul Kirch the satisfaction of having one of his own in the EM.TV top echelon.