Bert Habets to Lead European TV Giant RTL Group as Sole CEO

Bert Habets, CEO RTL Group
RTL Group

Guillaume de Posch will step down as co-head of the European television giant at the end of the year, but will remain on the company's board of directors.

Starting in the new year, Bert Habets will take over as the sole CEO of RTL Group, Europe's largest commercial television broadcaster. Guillaume de Posch, currently co-CEO with Habets, will step down at the end of the year, at his own request. De Posch will retain his seat on RTL's board of directors.

Habets took over as co-CEO in April, replacing German executive Anke Schaferkordt. RTL is now putting its hopes on the 46-year-old Dutchman to transform the media conglomerate, which remains Europe's biggest TV broadcaster but faces major challenges in the digital era. Habets has been with RTL since 1999 and made his name as CEO of the company's Dutch operations, successfully turning RTL Nederlands from an old media powerhouse into a 360 digital operation.

The hope is he can do the same for the parent company. RTL Group is a pan-European giant, with interests in 56 TV channels and 31 radio stations across the continent. It's also a production powerhouse: Subsidiary FremantleMedia is behind global franchises including Got Talent and The X Factor. But RTL is still strongly reliant on the traditional commercial TV business —a business threatened by the rise of online streaming and other mobile digital services.

“With Bert Habets, RTL Group will be led by a digitally savvy media entrepreneur with an exceptional in-house career development at RTL Group,” said Thomas Rabe, CEO of Bertelsmann, RTL's parent company. “He will ensure long-term continuity...and accelerate the execution of (RTL's) ‘Total Video’ strategy. This strategy includes a strong focus on fostering creativity and building more direct-to-consumer businesses in the video-on-demand domain.”

Habets' number two will be Elmar Heggen, who has been named deputy CEO at RTL Group and will take over running of RTL's French and Belgian operations while retaining his position as CFO of the entire group.

De Posch has been co-CEO of RTL Group since April 2012. Before that, he was COO of the group and was a former CEO of ProSiebenSat.1, RTL's main commercial competitor in Germany.