Levan Kubaneishvili has been appointed as the new director-general of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) for a six-year term.
His appointment was endorsed in a secret ballot with five of the nine-members of the GPB board of trustees backing him on April 4. There had been eight shortlisted candidates seeking the position.
The Georgian press had widely predicted Kubaneishvili’s appointment, as he is seen as a favorite of the authorities – something he himself has strongly denied.
Kubaneishvili, 34, has been working in television since 1993, holding various posts in different television stations, mostly in the State TV and Radio Corporation (GPB predecessor). Kubaneishvili was a close associate of Zaza Shengelia, a former head of the State TV and Radio Corporation. He was also the director-general of Mze TV in 2004. He has been the director general of a production studio, TBC TV, since 2004. In 2003, ahead of the disputed November parliamentary elections, Kubaneishvili served as a spokesman for then President Eduard Shevardnadze’s election bloc – a position not listed in his official biography submitted to the GPB board.
The board of trustees failed to elect a director-general in the first round as their votes split between three contenders. Kubaneishvili and Paata Natsvlishvili, who runs a publishing house, received four votes each - one vote short of the five required. Director of Internews Georgia Genadi Uchumbegashvili got one vote. The other five shortlisted contenders failed to receive any vote. Kubaneishvili was elected in the second round.