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RTL Deutschland Appoints New Co-CEOs Amid Publisher Merger

Vincent Flood 01 September, 2021 

RTL Deutschland is undergoing a leadership team reshuffle following the announcement that the German broadcaster is acquiring publisher Gruner + Jahr. Matthias Dang and Stephan Schäfer have been appointed co-CEOs of RTL Deutschland. 

Stephan Schäfer is currently CEO of Gruner + Jahr, a role he will retain alongside his new position of co-CEO of RTL Deutschland. The broadcaster acquired Gruner + Jahr (G+ J), which publishes popular titles like Stern, Brigitte and Geo, last month for $230 million from RTL’s own parent company Bertelsmann. 

RTL say Schäfer will head their content and brands, including all of their journalistic offerings. Meanwhile, Dang, who is currently head of Bertelsmann ad sales house Ad Alliance, will lead RTL Deutschland’s commercial, technological and digital activities. Matthias Dang will remain CEO of Ad Alliance in addition to his new role. 

The man Dang and Schäfer are replacing, Bernd Reichart, will leave RTL Deutschland to take on management responsibilities in the Bertelsmann Group. 

Oliver Radtke, managing director of G+J, will join the managing board of RTL Deutschland and will be in charge of overseeing the merger between the two companies. 

The merging of the companies represents a reorganisation of Bertelsmann’s journalistic operations. The newly joint editorial team will embark on new projects like high-end documentary series for families from Geo, and the new TV format Stern Investigativ. 

RTL Group CEO Thomas Rabe said the merger had created “Germany’s first cross-media champion”. 

“For this important task, we have created a new leadership structure. With Stephan Schäfer and Matthias Dang, the company will be led by two Co-CEOs who know and complement each other well, combining programming competence with journalistic and commercial expertise, strategic foresight and leadership strength. With the successful establishment and expansion of the Ad Alliance, they have demonstrated that the combination of RTL and G+J creates value for both sides and opens up new growth perspectives,” Rabe said. 

Thomas Rabe has embarked upon a strategy of consolidation of RTL’s media companies across Europe. His biggest step so far was the merger of RTL’s French unit M6 with TF1. Rabe has hinted that RTL is seeking a merger with German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media.


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