Bertelsmann Names Christoph Mohn New Supervisory Board Chairman

6:00 AM PST 08/30/2012 by Scott Roxborough

Mohn is the son of Bertelsmann matriarch Liz Mohn, whose family controls the German media giant.

BERLIN – Christoph Mohn will take over from Gunter Thielen as the new chairman of the Supervisory Board at German media giant Bertelsmann, starting in January. Thielen, 70, will retire from the post at the end of the year.

Mohn family tightens Bertelsmann control

Christoph Mohn is the son of Bertelsmann matriarch Liz Mohn and her late hustband, Reinhard Mohn. Liz, Christoph and sister Brigitte Mohn all sit on the board of the Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft, which controls all voting rights to the media group, whose assets include Europe’s leading broadcaster RTL and production giant FremantleMedia, maker of American Idol and The X Factor, is in the midst of a major strategic transition as CEO Thomas Rabe tries to push Bertelsmann’s traditional businesses into the digital world and expand operations to high growth territories in Asia and South America.

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Bertelsmann’s revenues last year were up slightly at around $19 billion (€15.3 billion), but profits attributable to Bertelsmann shareholders were down more than $15 million to $574 million (€465 million). Many analysts feel Bertelsmann is too dependent on markets in Western Europe which are facing recession or sluggish growth forecasts and on traditional advertising, which is highly cyclical.

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