If he stays, he does not remain? The question of how long Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe the Gütersloh family group still performs, drove the media industry in recent months and years about repeatedly. Now the Group Rabes has extended contract – and just around the usual Bertelsmann full term of five years
the ambitious manager, the owners Mohn family had moved in 2012 as Chief Executive Officer, hung long the call to, in Bertelsmann. -Kosmos not be truly arrived. Already in his time as chief financial officer Raven is applied only at the competitor ProSiebenSat.1 and shortly afterwards the Metro Group Haniel. Even the French media group Vivendi there should have been 2013 contacts – although Rabe was already chief executive.
Rabe remained every time, but caused irritation at the Mohn, but were apparently introduced at the top of the group and no one else wanted. When there were rumors two years ago, Rabes ongoing until the end of 2016 the contract would not be renewed because the relationship with the Mohn family “cooled considerably” was, as then, the “Handelsblatt” wrote, followed immediately a public denial of the Supervisory chefs Christoph Mohn: He praised Rabes “outstanding performance”.
“For us, the supervisory board, the question has never been asked”
The current contract renewal acts just as if they wanted the question of Rabe’s remaining term in Group create a once and for all out of the room. He is staying! “For us, the supervisory board, the question has been asked, it was a discussion that was conducted only in the media,” Poppy told SPIEGEL ONLINE now.
Rabe had shut down the revenue share of the ailing business, or about the printing and book clubs, of about ten percent to only four to five percent, the share of fast-growing businesses has risen by a third in his tenure. *
“Bertelsmann is a large tanker which does not rotate on the spot,” says Poppy, “but we see the success of Thomas Rabe’s strategy, the company is stable and robust since than four years ago.” For that reason there was no discussion of whether Rabe’s contract shall be extended for less than five years. “We are very pleased with his overall performance and the growth trend is not over yet,” said Poppy. Would Rabe fulfill his new contract until the end, he was ten years in office so long. At the top, as since Bertelsmann veteran Mark Wössner no longer CEO
In fact, the relationship between Raven and the Mohn family now deemed to be relaxed. Rabe, who apparently also flirted with it in between to change as an investor or entrepreneur in the agile world of startups, meanwhile, seems to have made his peace with the constraints of the family company Bertelsmann.
It was not always like this: Shortly after taking office, the family let their top managers preschen with the idea of the public to bring Bertelsmann on the stock exchange or to seek major investors to fresh money for investments get – shortly after they whistled him back. Especially Liz Mohn wanted at the Group level no owners beside him, from an IPO the family wants nothing more to do. Investments are tested at Bertelsmann after such a strict set of criteria that it usually no more than average, hundreds of millions are released.
The restraint has slowed growth Rabes fantasies. Above all, the education business is built specifically from Raven now, with smaller and medium-sized acquisitions in places like India, Brazil or the United States.
The new CFO knows Rabe good
The fact that Raven is set long at Bertelsmann, it suggests the appointment of a new chief financial officer, the company today also announced: The post will be filled as of April 1 Bernd Hirsch. The 45-year-old was until recently Chief Financial Officer of the flavoring manufacturer Symrise fragrances and. Raven knows Hirsch well: He is chairman of the board at Symrise.
Bertelsmann sought for more than a year for a successor to Judith Hartmann – the CFO had Bertelsmann end in January 2015 leaving after just two years. From the Supervisory Board it was since then, you’ll be in the search for a successor also so much time, because you look out hold for a candidate who has the potential to inherit Rabe once as chief executive and may therefore also more needed than with the capital market to communicate and to have the financial position under control.
As such a crown prince for Rabe however Hirsch should not come into question as quickly. At Symrise, although he has handled large acquisitions, but against Bertelsmann, the company is a dwarf. While the Group accounts for around 17 billion euros in annual sales in Gütersloh, Symrise is just 2.2 billion. He was sure that Hirsch “very good in the Bertelsmann culture fits,” says Mohn.
For Bertelsmann, the Personnel is quite a risk: The Group had in the past few years no knack for undertaking external directors. Not only Hartmann left the headquarters in Gütersloh quickly. Even former Microsoft Manager Achim Berg remained as CEO of Bertelsmann subsidiary Arvato just over two years. 2013 Thomas Hesse had already left the Bertelsmann Executive Board, which was to advance the digital strategy. Some of the tasks assumed equal Rabe himself – he seems at least now quite arrived in the Bertelsmann culture.
* For Bertelsmann Group also includes the Hamburg publishing house Gruner & amp; Year, which in turn owns 25.5 percent of the Spiegel publishing house.