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Stephan Schäfer has resigned as co-CEO of German TV giant RTL amid a management shake-up at Europe’s largest commercial broadcaster.
Schäfer stepped down Wednesday, leaving a quartet of executives in charge of RTL: co-CEO Matthias Dang, CFO Alexander Glatz, newly-appointed COO Andreas Fischer and Oliver Radtke, who is responsible for coordinating the strategic link-up between RTL and Gruner + Jahr, the publishing giant controlled by RTL parent company Bertelsmann.
Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe takes over as chairman of RTL’s management board. Schäfer will remain associated with RTL in an advisory capacity.
The executive shuffle comes amid a push by Bertelsmann to transform its largely legacy media operations into digital-first operations and to find synergies between them.
One of the first steps in this direction has been a merger between RTL which owns some 15 TV channels, and Gruner + Jahr (G+J) which publishes premium magazines including newsweekly Stern and science imprint Geo.
“As a unified company, RTL Deutschland and G+J are in a good position to become a national media champion in Germany,” said Schäfer.
In addition to RTL and Gruner + Jahr, Bertelsmann also owns book giant Penguin Random House and music publisher and a record label BMG Rights Management.
On Wednesday, RTL re-launched its German streaming service RTL+, adding a new music streaming offering through a deal with French-owned music streamer Deezer. The plan is to continue to add new content, including podcasts, magazines and ebooks, to RTL+ from across Bertelsmann’s portfolio.
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