Bernd Hirsch has been appointed the new chief financial officer of Bertelsmann, effective as of 1st April.
The position has been held by chairman and c.e.o. Thomas Rabe in an "interim" capacity for the past year, following the departure of Judith Hartmann at the end of January 2015. Rabe was c.f.o. between 2006 and 2012.
Rabe's contract with the board has simultaneously been extended for another five years. Rabe said he was "grateful for the confidence" placed in him by the board, and that he would work to ensure "the long-term independence of this fascinating company", by aligning Bertelsmann to its "three pillars": media, services and education.
Hirsch, 45, who will also become a member of the Bertelsmann Group Management Committee (GMC), most recently served as c.f.o. at the global supplier of fragrances and flavorings Symrise AG. Prior to joining the Symrise management board, Hirsch worked for seven years at the Carl Zeiss Group.
Christoph Mohn, chairman of Bertelsmann’s supervisory board, branded Hirsch "an excellent choice" for the role for his "great expertise" and his experience handling numerous M&A financings "with a volume in the billions". "The entire supervisory board is delighted that Bernd Hirsch will enrich the Executive Board with his knowledge and that he will play a decisive role in further expanding Bertelsmann’s good financial position,” he said.
Mohn added with respect to Rabe's contractual extension that the progress made under Rabe's leadership has been "enormous", counting "the digital investments of RTL Group including in companies such as BroadbandTV, StyleHaul and SpotX, the merger resulting in the world's largest trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the re-entry into the music business with the new BMG, and the founding of the Bertelsmann Education Group" among his successes. He also noted "a strengthening of [Bertelsmann's] profitability", with "a record nine-months operating result" in 2015.
Bertelsmann is seeking an equity partner to buy out Penguin Random House from Pearson, three sources told Reuters in November.