Karola Wille
Sebastian Willnow/dapd




An attorney and former lecturer of media law at Leipzig University, Wille joined MDR in 1991 as a senior advisor to the broadcaster’s legal directorate. Appointed head of the directorate in 1996, Wille also chaired ARD and public broadcaster ZDF’s legal affairs committee between 1997 and 1998. After being re-elected twice as MDR’s legal director, Wille was elected as the broadcaster’s director-general in 2011 for a six-year term. She took over the ARD chair in January 2016.

Wille is overseeing what could become, in her words, the “biggest reform program” ever undertaken by ARD, which, together with ZDF, costs German consumers more than $8 billion a year. Wille said public broadcasting association has to see how it “can continue to grow.” According to German press reports, the plan may include the merger of the country’s nine regional broadcasters into four large corporations: east, west, north and south. ARD has so far denied that move, however.

The ARD chair rotates among the country’s nine regional broadcasting corporations for one year, although Wille was reappointed for a second year in 2017.


  • Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR)
  • ARD


  • University of Leipzig (Germany)
  • University of Hagen (Germany)
  • (University of Jena, Germany)

News from Variety

Brit thesps wary but willing

Brit thesps wary but willing

As a girl, Kate Winslet practiced accepting an Oscar in front of the bathroom mirror with a shampoo bottle, while Tilda Swinton says the only race she dreamed of winning was the Cheltenham Gold Cup -- as a horse.Each year, a bunch of Brits are flung into the dizzying whirlwind of the film world's awards season. Some are more prepared than others and more eager to seize the opportunities on offer.For months they shuttle to and fro across the Atlantic,...


Deep Dive

Want more information on Karola Wille?

Variety's premium research & data service, Variety Insight, provides a wealth of information around everyone working in entertainment. Access contact information, development slates, ratings, box office, credits and more from the industry's leading source for entertainment data.