The Chairman and CEO of BMG co-owner Bertlesmann, Hartmut Ostrowski, is stepping down, and will be succeeded by Thomas Rabe, the media conglom’s CFO, who arguably has had a higher public profile than his CEO in recent years anyway.
Ostrowski is stepping down for “personal reasons”, insiders saying he simply didn’t want to commit to the five years a new contract in the role would demand. He will stay on in an advisory role though, via a seat on the company’s Supervisory Board, which yesterday announced the executive changes.
Gunter Thielen, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, told reporters: “Bertelsmann owes Hartmut Ostrowski a great debt of gratitude. He led the company in difficult times. I look forward to continuing to work with him on the Supervisory Board. The timing of the changeover ensures that the passing of the baton to Thomas Rabe will be handled smoothly”.
Elsewhere in the Bertelsmann Group, BMG announced that John Rudolph was stepping down as CEO of Bug Music, the US-based independent publisher Bertelsmann’s acquisitive music rights business bought recently. BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch told Music Week that Rudolph, who has run Bug Music since equity group Crossroads Media took a significant stake in 2006, was always set to depart as part of his company’s takeover of the publisher.
Rudolph, meanwhile, is keeping busy suing Bug’s former owners over allegations they failed to come good on a contractual commitment to give him a 2% stake of the company. Presumably he wants 2% of the $300 million the publishing firm was reportedly valued at in BMG’s takeover.