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Endemol Chief Operating Officer Resigns

The chief operating officer of television production company Endemol has resigned, Endemol said Monday, without citing a specific reason.

"Endemol and Tom Barnicoat have mutually agreed that Mr. Barnicoat will step down with immediate effect," the company said in a statement, adding that he would receive a severance package of 2.6 million pounds (3.9 million euros; $5.1 million) in addition to his pension and stock options.

Endemol spokesman Peter Krenn said the company was not willing to elaborate on the reason for Barnicoat's departure. "You may look for a scandal, but you won't find it," he said.

Endemol, best known for creating the "Big Brother" program format, is controlled by Spain's Telefonica. It has been publicly listed in Amsterdam since Telefonica floated a 25% stake in November 2005, with an eye to selling the company.

Shares slipped 1.9% to 21.20 euros ($27.92) in Amsterdam Monday.

Telefonica bought Endemol for 5 billion euros in 2000. The production company's current market value is about 2.7 billion euros ($3.5 billion).