Bertelsmann Names Dieter Vogel Chairman

By | December 17, 2003 at 12:00 AM

German media giant Bertelsmann named a new chairman Wednesday to take over for Gerd Schulte-Hillen, who announced his resignation last month after a clash over corporate strategy with the company chief executive.

Dieter Vogel, Schulte-Hillen’s former deputy, will start Jan. 1 in the new position, a company statement said.

Schulte-Hillen, a 63-year-old company veteran, agreed to step down as supervisory board chairman after he and CEO Gunter Thielen developed “different views on the strategic direction of Bertelsmann,” according to the Guetersloh-based company.

Bertelsmann and Sony Corp. are merging their music businesses, bringing together the world’s No. 2 and No. 5 music companies.

The move was part of an effort by Thielen to shore up earnings by bolstering Bertelsmann’s core businesses, which also include Random House division, the world’s largest general-interest publisher, European broadcaster RTL and German magazine group Gruner


Thielen’s predecessor, Thomas Middelhoff, had taken the company into Internet ventures such as online bookseller BOL and cooperation with now-defunct Internet music exchange Napster.

Middelhoff quit in July 2002 after reportedly clashing with the Mohn family, which controls 75 percent of the company, over strategy and his rejected proposal for a public offering of part of their stake.

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