Exec to advise on global corporate strategy, acquisitions

NEW YORK — Bertelsmann exec Thomas Hesse is leaving the German media giant’s Gutersloh headquarters to join Gotham-based music division BMG in the newly created position of chief strategic officer.

Hesse, who reports to chief operating officer Michael Smellie, will advise the label on global corporate strategy and potential acquisition opportunities. He also will serve on BMG’s executive committee along with Smellie, CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holz and RCA Music Group topper Bob Jamieson, among others.

Move follows news in August of a restructuring initiative set in motion by newly minted Bertelsmann topper Gunter Thielen, whose plans include a more decentralized management structure, with core units such as BMG charting its own strategic future.

Insiders noted that, despite Hesse’s pedigree at the home office, his presence at BMG doesn’t contradict those plans because he will report only to the BMG brass.

Hesse was most recently exec VP and head of corporate strategy for Bertelsmann. He started at the company six years ago, starting as chief of TV unit RTL’s new-media division.

Exec then moved into program acquisition and distribution at RTL, and then became head of corporate development for UFA (later CLT/Ufa) — also the former home of Schmidt-Holz.

Before joining Bertelsmann, Hesse was a corporate consultant at McKinsey & Co. for five years.

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