MAIN NEWS HEADLINES
May 22 – May 29, 2008 Edition
Markus Dohle Named
To Succeed Olson
At Random House
NEW YORK/5/20/08– Hartmut Ostrowski, Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann AG, announced today that Peter Olson, 58, will step down at his own initiative from his positions as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Random House and as a member of the Executive Board of Bertelsmann AG, effective May 31. Olson will pursue an academic career.
Markus Dohle, 39, will become the new Chairman and CEO of Random House. He was appointed by the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann AG and will succeed Mr. Olson on the Bertelsmann Executive Board as of June 1. Mr. Dohle is presently member of the Arvato AG Executive Board and CEO of Arvato Print. Dohle’s successor at Arvato will be announced shortly. The Direct Group North America reporting line will shift from Peter Olson to Bertelsmann’s Chief Financial Officer Thomas Rabe.
In a separate but related announcement, Ostrowski said that Richard Sarnoff, President of Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and a member of the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann AG, will take on the additional role of Co-Chairman of Bertelsmann, Inc., reporting to Bertelsmann CFO Thomas Rabe, effective immediately. In this new position, Mr. Sarnoff will play a key role in Bertelsmann’s strategic and corporate development activities in the US, where he will work in close cooperation with executives from the divisions and the Corporate Center.
Ostrowski also congratulated Markus Dohle on his new position on the Bertelsmann Executive Board and as the CEO of the Random House division, saying: “Markus Dohle is an exceptional entrepreneur who will successfully influence the future of Random House.”
In a Bertlesmann intranet interview with Ostrowski, he said: "Bertelsmann is pleased with Random House’s development to date and is proud to have the world’s largest trade book publishing group as a core business. Bertelsmann’s Executive Board supports the 5,700 Random House employees completely, just as we supported Peter Olson. Bertelsmann is not planning to exit the book business. Quite the opposite: We want to see Random House grow, want to open up new prospects for the company and its employees, and ready Random House for a great future. In this context, the appointment of Markus Dohle is an integral part of Bertelsmann’s new growth strategy.
" Markus Dohle’s appointment is also a sign that we are serious about our new growth strategy.
"First, Markus Dohle has made some experience in the book business as head of Vereinigte Verlagsauslieferung (VVA) and CEO of Mohn Media Group. He is also a big reader, which gives him a rapport with his new book-publishing colleagues. Second, he contributes his outstanding entrepreneurial skills, his love of innovation, and his purposeful, problem-solving approach to entrepreneurial challenges. These are precisely the traits needed at this time to make Random House – and Bertelsmann – ready for the publishing business of the near- and more distant future. Or put differently, to turn stability into growth. And let’s not forget that Markus Dohle can now count on the experience of 5,700 committed and motivated employees who definitely know how to publish books well. This applies especially for Random House’s executives, and above all to its publishing executives."
Mr. Olson joined Bertelsmann AG in 1988 and served in a variety of positions in Gütersloh and New York, culminating in his appointment ten years ago as Chairman and CEO of Random House. He led the negotiations for Bertelsmann’s acquisition of the publishing house and its subsequent successful integration with Bantam Doubleday Dell. Under his leadership during the past decade, Random House enhanced its position as the global trade-book publishing market leader, greatly increasing its profitability through the sale of more than four billion books globally, over four thousand bestsellers in nineteen countries and five languages, as well as with eight new Nobel Prize winners.
Mr. Ostrowski expressed his regret over Peter Olson’s departure and wished his longtime colleague the best of success with his new life plan, saying: “Peter Olson made an important contribution to developing Bertelsmann’s book publishing business. We thank him for his tremendously successful work at the helm of Random House.” Ostrowski also congratulated Markus Dohle on his new position on the Bertelsmann Executive Board and as the CEO of the Random House division, saying: “Markus Dohle is an exceptional entrepreneur who will successfully influence the future of Random House.”
According to Ostrowski, Dohle brings to Random House a fresh strategic viewpoint on Random House’s operations. At Arvato, he has demonstrated his great ability to create new revenue streams in mature markets. Likewise, at Random House, he will lend new and necessary impetus to the book-publishing business by lengthening the value chain. "Random House plays an important role in Bertelsmann’s growth strategy,” Ostrowski said. “Markus Dohle will continue to advance the development of world’s market-leading trade book publishing group through new ideas and by opening up new lines of business. In doing so, he will rely on Random House’s longstanding traditions, in particular the independence of its individual publishers and imprints. Markus has a leader’s personality. With his proven talent for innovation, he will enhance Random House’s long-term value and keep it strong even in a mature book marketplace.”
Mr. Dohle will be based in Random House’s world headquarters in New York, where he will be relocating this summer.
Mr. Dohle said, “My appointment as Random House’s Chairman and CEO is a great honor for me. I am grateful for this vote of confidence and look forward to the entrepreneurial challenge and the chance to work with their extraordinary authors, as well as their world-class publishers and employees. Trade book publishing faces a promising future. My goal for Random House is for us to join together in identifying newgrowth opportunities and tap additional potential which we will develop from our core businesses as we continue to build upon Random House’s unique position as the global trade-book market leader.”
Markus Dohle joined Bertelsmann in 1994, after completing a degree in economics and industrial engineering at the University of Karlsruhe (TH). He began as a management assistant at Bertelsmann Distribution. In 1998 he was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of the Vereinigte Verlagsauslieferung (VVA). He eventually led VVA to market leadership in the field of publishing logistics. In 2002, he moved to the printing sector, taking the helm of the Mohn Media group, which he has led successfully ever since. Dohle has sat on the Arvato AG executive board since 2006, and is responsible for Arvato Print’s worldwide operations and more than 11,500 employees in seven countries.
Peter Olson, in a May 20 letter to his staff, said, in part: " My family and I are relocating this summer to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where we have bought an apartment in Harvard Square. I am in discussions for a senior faculty position starting in the fall with a full-time workload at a nearby university and I expect they and I will announce my plans soon. The challenge of working with students and the writing and research aspects of this prospective position are enormously exciting to me.
"I am grateful to my longtime colleague, Bertelsmann CEO Hartmut Ostrowski, for understanding and supporting my wish to pursue this new direction for my life. I thank him and Gunter Thielen, Thomas Middelhoff, and Mark Woessner, his predecessors as CEOs of our parent company, for their willingness to invest in Random House and for their unwavering support of our editorial autonomy and our publishing business. I believe my successor, Markus Dohle, who brings a dynamic approach and a terrific track record, will build on our incomparable strengths and traditions to make Random House an even greater commercial and cultural success."
About Bertelsmann AG
Bertelsmann is an international media company encompassing television (RTL Group), book publishing (Random House), magazine publishing (Gruner + Jahr), music (BMG), media services (Arvato), and media clubs (Direct Group) in more than 50 countries. Bertelsmann’s claim is to inspire people around the world with first-class media and communications offerings – entertainment, information and services – and occupy leading positions in its respective markets. The foundation of Bertelsmann’s success is a corporate culture based on partnership, entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and corporate responsibility. The company strives to bring creative new ideas to market and create value.
Bertelsmann is comprised of the television channels, television production companies, and radio stations of Europe’s largest entertainment group, RTL Group (RTL Television, M6, Five, Fremantle Media), and the more than 120 publishing houses of Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher (Alfred A. Knopf, Bantam, Goldmann). Gruner + Jahr is Europe’s number one magazine publisher (Stern, Geo, Neon, Capital). The Sony BMG joint venture in the BMG division is synonymous with creativity and strong international music brands (Beyoncé, Dixie Chicks, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera). The Arvato media and communications services division brings together distribution, service centers and customer-relationship management, state-of-the art printing manufacturing, storage media production, mobile services, and comprehensive IT services. Bertelsmann’s direct-to-customer businesses are unified within the Direct Group: book, DVD, and music clubs (Der Club, France Loisirs), as well as book retailers in France and Portuga