LONDON — Reinhard Mohn, 80, founder of German media giant Bertelsmann and descendant of the founding Bertelsmann family, will hand over his various positions to Gunther Thielen, head of company’s subsidiary Arvato, by Oct. 1.
Thielen was originally to assume his new posts next year, but Mohn said in a statement that he saw no reason to wait.
Thielen is assuming Mohn’s functions as chairman of the Bertelsmann Foundation as well as of the BVG, a superboard entity set up by Mohn to ensure the continuity of the company after his death. The BVG controls 75% of the voting rights in Bertelsmann.
The foundation owns the majority stake in Bertelsmann and promotes programs for global reform and social research.
Mohn will assume an honorary chairman title on the Bertelsmann supervisory board proper and remain a member of the foundation.
It’s the second time that Mohn has given up these functions. He previously handed the responsibilities to Mark Wossner, former chairman of Bertelsmann, but reassumed the titles when Wossner retired in October 1999.
“I still have a lot of plans for the foundation,” said Mohn. “But the daily running of the business belongs in younger hands. The continuity of Bertelsmann has been arranged in the best possible way.”