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Bertelsmann appoints Thomas Rabe as chairman and chief executive

By Giulia Cambieri

Bertelsmann, the German media conglomerate owned by the Mohn family, has appointed its chief financial officer, Thomas Rabe, as the group’s new chairman and chief executive.

The 46-year-old will replace Hartmut Ostrowski, who resigned for personal reasons and will move to the supervisory board, the company said in a statement.

Rabe joined the company in 2000, when he became finance chief of RTL Group, the European broadcasting giant owned by Bertelsmann. In 2006, he moved to the same position at Bertelsmann.

Ostrowski held various positions at Bertelsmann since joining in 1982, including chief executive of Arvato, the group’s customer support and financial service division that he expanded into an international business. Ostrowski is also credited with guiding the company through the economic crisis and reducing the group’s debt.

“Bertelsmann owes Hartmut Ostrowski a great debt of gratitude. He led the company in difficult times,” said Gunter Thielen, chairman of the supervisory board.

Bertelsmann, Europe's largest media group by revenues, is owned by founder Carl Bertelsmann's descendants, the Mohn family, and the Bertelsmann Foundation. Although no members of the Mohn family sits in the company’s board, Liz, Christoph, and Brigitte Mohn – respectively widow and sons of Carl Bertelsmann’s grandson Reinhard Mohn – sit in Bertelsmann’s supervisory body. 

In 2010, the group, which now operates in over 50 countries, had revenues of €15.8 billion. 

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