RTL said Habets has stepped down as chief executive and also from the board of RTL. Rabe told Reuters that Habets was leaving for family reasons and that there were no disagreements over strategy. Habets recently outlined a huge investment program and plans to ramp up streaming services.
Rabe will take on his new role in addition to his duties as chairman and CEO of RTL-owner Bertelsmann. Martin Taylor, currently vice chairman of the group, has been appointed as chairman and James Singh vice chairman.
“We thank Bert Habets for more than 20 years in various managerial positions at RTL Group and wish him all the best for the future,” Rabe said. “RTL Group will continue to focus on three priorities: further strengthening its core TV, audio and production business; building local video streaming champions; and growing its advertising technology business. I am very pleased that Martin Taylor and James Singh are taking the lead on the board and will support me in my new role as CEO of RTL Group alongside their fellow board members.”
RTL is a powerhouse in European media, owning a raft of free-to-air TV channels, including RTL in Germany and M6 in France. It also own TV production and distribution giant Fremantle. In recent times it has been seeking to diversify and to up its presence in the digital space.
Rabe has close ties withthe RTL Group. In 2000, he was appointed CFO and member of the executive committee. He joined the board of RTL Group in 2006 and became its chairman in 2012. In 2006 he was appointed CFO of Bertelsmann, and then chairman and CEO in 2012.
Habets became sole CEO of RTL in 2018. He had been sharing CEO duties with Guillaume de Posch after Anke Schäferkordt vacated that position earlier in 2017. He previously ran the RTL Nederland business, launching new channels in the territory and diversifying its Dutch business.