Thomas Rabe
Courtesy of Bertelsmann



Chairman / CEO

Bertelsmann was hit hard by the decline in ad revenue during the pandemic, with publisher Gruner + Jahr and RTL Group, Europe’s biggest broadcast group and owner of TV producer-distributor Fremantle (“American Idol,” “The New Pope”), worst affected. But the diversification of its portfolio with substantial investments in digital paid off, as profits have remained stable. Among its successes are streaming services TV Now in Germany and Video­land in the Netherlands, both of which showed strong growth in subscribers. Other properties are also thriving, as music company BMG’s streaming efforts and publisher Penguin Random House’s ebook and audiobooks business grew during the shutdown. Bertelsmann Education Group saw increased demand for online schooling and training as well, while IT services provider Arvato Systems prospered.



  • RTL Group
  • Bertelsmann
  • Clearstream


  • University of Colonge (Germany)

Variety Honors

  • 2017 Variety500 Honoree
  • 2018 Variety500 Honoree
  • 2019 Variety500 Honoree
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News from Variety

Bert Habets Resigns as CEO of RTL; Thomas Rabe Takes Charge

Bert Habets Resigns as CEO of RTL; Thomas Rabe Takes Charge

Bert Habets has resigned as CEO of European media giant RTL, which has appointed Thomas Rabe to take over the role.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...


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