Mohn family tightens Bertelsmann control


COLOGNE, Germany -- Germany's Mohn family is further strengthening its position at media giant Bertelsmann by implementing changes to the group's holding company.

A Bertelsmann spokesman confirmed Wednesday that changes to the Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft (BVG), the holding company that controls 100% of voting shares in Bertelsmann AG, will see the BVG board reduced from eight members to six, with three coming from the Mohn family.

Family patriarch Reinhard Mohn, his wife Liz and their daughter Brigitte will remain on the BVG board while son Christoph Mohn will step down from the board along with Erich Ruppik, head of Bertelsmann's workers council.

Bertelsmann CEO Gunter Thielen, a Mohn confidant who moves from the CEO job to become chairman of Bertelsmann's supervisory board in January 2008, will stay on the BVG board.

Also remaining is Bertelsmann supervisory board chairman Dieter Vogel, who resigns from that post at the end of this year, and Vogel's deputy chairman on the supervisory board, Juergen Strube.

A space on the BVG board was traditionally held for the company's chief executive but that will not longer be the case. This means that Theilen's successor, Hartmut Ostrowski, will not have a say in the holding company that runs Bertelsmann.

Instead the Mohn family, and people close to them, will have an even greater say in the running of Germany's largest media concern.