German Media Giant Bertelsmann Adds Ex-Microsoft Executive

Achim Berg - H 2012

Achim Berg takes over as chairman of services group Arvato as the company makes good on a promise to add digital know-how.


COLOGNE, Germany – Fulfilling his pledge to bring more digital know-how into the old media world of German industry giant Bertelsmann, CEO Thomas Rabe on Friday unveiled the appointment of former Microsoft Germany managing director Achim Berg.

He will serve as chairman of Bertelsmann's services group Arvato.

Berg will also take up positions on Bertelsmann's executive board and on the supervisory board of Bertelsmann Management SE.

He takes over on April 1, replacing Rolf Buch, who is stepping down.

Berg's job at Arvato will be to step up the digital transformation at the group, which provides solutions to industry customers worldwide, including customer loyalty programs. The division generated revenues of $7.4 billion (€5.4 billion) last year, with an operating profit of $470 million (€341 million).

Berg has held positions in several tech companies, including Dell, Siemens and Deutsche Telekom's Internet subsidiary T-Com. He has been with Microsoft since 2007 holding the position of corporate vp, worldwide operator channels since 2011.

Berg's appointment fits into Rabe's overall strategy for Bertelsmann, which is to move the traditional media giant – whose assets include publisher Random House and European television group RTL – fully into the digital age. Rabe has admitted that Bertelsmann will have to go outside the company to acquire much of the expertise needed for the shift.

“We look forward to Achim Berg’s international expertise and perspective. Above and beyond his profound understanding of technology, he brings with him extensive management know-how from a global group like Microsoft and other noted companies,” said Rabe.

“Beyond strengthening Arvato’s core business he will provide crucial impetus in the division’s digital transformation, advance the building of growth platforms within Arvato, and accelerate its expansion in our defined growth regions across the world.”