RTL Group unveils new leadership structure

28 August 2019, Luxembourg
  • Elmar Heggen takes over newly created role as Chief Operating Officer (COO), remains Deputy CEO
  • Björn Bauer, currently Executive Vice President Corporate Controlling and Strategy at Bertelsmann, joins RTL Group as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and member of the Executive Committee
  • New Group Management Committee (GMC) established, composed of the members of the Executive Committee and the CEOs of the Group’s three largest business units
  • RTL Group CEO Thomas Rabe: “The GMC will shape the future of our company”


RTL Group today announced a new leadership structure. At its meeting yesterday, RTL Group’s Board of Directors appointed Elmar Heggen as the Group’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Björn Bauer as the Group’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective immediately. Both Elmar Heggen and Björn Bauer will report to RTL Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thomas Rabe.

In his new position as COO, Elmar Heggen – who had been RTL Group’s CFO since 2006 – will be responsible for coordinating and further optimising the operations across the Group’s international footprint. As Executive Director, he will continue to serve on RTL Group’s Board of Directors.

Björn Bauer joins RTL Group from Bertelsmann where he has served in several senior executive positions since 2007, most recently as CFO of Bertelsmann’s US-based online learning provider Relias (2015 to 2018) and, since January 2019, as Bertelsmann’s Executive Vice President Corporate Controlling and Strategy. He will also be a member of RTL Group’s Executive Committee, alongside CEO Thomas Rabe and COO Elmar Heggen.

Martin Taylor, Chairman of RTL Group’s Board of Directors, says: “I am delighted that we have found such a dynamic and experienced leadership team for RTL Group. Elmar Heggen knows our Group inside out and will be an active sparring partner for the chief executives of our business units. Björn Bauer has extensive financial expertise and media experience. With our CEO Thomas Rabe, I wish both of them lots of success in their new positions.”

To drive the strategic agenda of RTL Group and to foster cooperation, the Group is also establishing a Group Management Committee (GMC), which will be composed of the members of the Executive Committee (Thomas Rabe, Elmar Heggen, Björn Bauer) and the CEOs of the Group’s three largest business units – Bernd Reichart (CEO of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland), Nicolas de Tavernost (CEO of Groupe M6) and Jennifer Mullin (CEO of Fremantle).

Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group, says: “The GMC will shape the future of our company, bringing together massive experience and different perspectives. Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland will lead our newly created European advertising technology development unit, while Groupe M6 will build the technology backbone of RTL’s streaming services. And our global content business Fremantle is at the very heart of what drives our businesses – creativity and content.” 

In addition, the Board of Directors has mandated the Executive Committee to review the role and the size of RTL Group’s Corporate Centre in Luxembourg. As part of this mandate, the Executive Committee will also explore whether certain corporate positions could be transferred to Cologne. The review is expected to be completed by end of September 2019.

About the members of RTL Group’s Executive Committee

Björn Bauer graduated in business administration in 2005 from the European Business School (Oestrich-Winkel, Germany). In 2005, he started his career at the international management consultancy Arthur D. Little and then joined Bertelsmann in 2007, where he held successive positions in Corporate Controlling and Strategy. In February 2015, Björn Bauer was appointed Head of M&A at the online learning provider Relias in Cary, North Carolina, which Bertelsmann had acquired in November 2014. In September 2015, he was appointed CFO of Relias. After nearly four years in the United States, he returned to Gütersloh in January 2019 as Bertelsmann’s Executive Vice President for Corporate Controlling and Strategy.

Elmar Heggen holds a diploma in business administration from the European Business School (Oestrich-Winkel, Germany) and graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in finance. In 1992, he started his career at the Felix Schoeller Group. Elmar Heggen joined RTL Group in 2000 as Vice President Mergers & Acquisitions. In January 2003, he was promoted to Senior Vice President Controlling & Investments. From July 2003 until December 2005, he was Executive Vice President Strategy & Controlling. Since January 2006, Elmar Heggen has served on the RTL Group Executive Management team, and since 1 October 2006, he has been Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Head of the Corporate Centre of RTL Group. In January 2018, Elmar Heggen also became Deputy CEO of RTL Group. In April 2018, Elmar Heggen was appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Groupe M6.

Thomas Rabe holds a diploma and a doctorate in economics from the University of Cologne, Germany. He started his career in 1989 at the European Commission in Brussels. From 1990 to 1996, he held various senior positions at Forrester Norall & Sutton (now White & Case) in Brussels, the state privatisation agency, Treuhandanstalt, and a venture capital fund in Berlin. In 1996, he joined Cedel International (Clearstream, following the merger with Deutsche Börse Clearing), where he was appointed CFO and member of the Management Board in 1998. In 2000, Thomas Rabe became CFO and member of the Executive Committee of RTL Group. With effect from 1 January 2006, Thomas Rabe was appointed to the Executive Board of Bertelsmann AG as the Group’s CFO. Since 1 January 2012, Thomas Rabe has been CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Bertelsmann AG, now Bertelsmann Management SE. On 1 April 2019, RTL Group’s Board of Directors appointed Thomas Rabe as CEO of RTL Group. Thomas Rabe is a non-executive member of the Boards of Symrise and Adidas.

About the business unit CEOs who will join the newly created Group Management Committee

Jennifer Mullin became CEO of Fremantle in September 2018. She joined Fremantle in the United States in 2005 as Senior Vice President of Current Programming. In 2012, she became Executive Vice President of Current Programming. She was promoted to Co-CEO of Fremantle in the US in 2015, and then CEO as of 2017. Prior to joining Fremantle in the US, Jennifer Mullin worked as an Executive Producer at companies such as Paramount, Telepictures and Universal.

Bernd Reichart became CEO of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland in January 2019. He began his career in the sports marketing sector with UFA Sports in Hamburg. In 2003, he opened a branch in Madrid for the sports rights agency Sportfive. In 2004, he moved to RTL Group’s shareholding in Spain, Antena 3, as Head of Investor Relations. From 2007 to 2013, he worked as Managing Director Multichannel with the commercial TV broadcaster Atresmedia. In February 2013, Bernd Reichart assumed the responsibilities of Managing Director of Vox and was also member of the management team of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland.

Nicolas de Tavernost has been Chairman of the Executive Board of Groupe M6 since May 2000. He started his career in 1974 at the French Foreign Trade Department and then held several positions in ministerial cabinets. From 1981 to 1986, de Tavernost headed various governmental delegations, and eventually worked as director of the audiovisual activities at Lyonnaise des Eaux. In 1987 he joined M6 as Managing Director and became President of the advertising sales house M6 Publicité in 1988.

Pictures of the members of RTL Group’s Group Management Committee can be downloaded here: http://www.rtlgroup.com/en/media/downloads/pictures.cfm



For further information please contact:

Corporate Communications

Oliver Fahlbusch
Executive Vice President
Corporate Communications & Marketing
RTL Group
T.: +352 / 24 86 5200

Investor Relations

Andrew Buckhurst
Senior Vice President
Investor Relations
T.: +352 / 24 86 5074

About RTL Group
RTL Group is a leader across broadcast, content and digital, with interests in 60 television channels, eight video-on-demand platforms and 30 radio stations. RTL Group also produces content throughout the world and owns several rapidly growing digital video businesses. The television portfolio of Europe’s largest broadcaster includes RTL Television in Germany, M6 in France, the RTL channels in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Hungary and Antena 3 in Spain. RTL Group’s families of TV channels are either the number one or number two in eight European countries. The Group’s flagship radio station is RTL in France, and it also owns or has interests in other stations in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg. RTL Group’s content production arm, Fremantle, is one of the largest international creators, producers and distributors of scripted and unscripted content in the world. Fremantle has an international network of production teams, companies and labels in over 30 countries, producing over 12,700 hours of original programming and distributing over 20,000 hours of content worldwide. Combining the on-demand services of its broadcasters, the digital video businesses BroadbandTV, Divimove, United Screens and Fremantle’s more than 300 YouTube channels, RTL Group has become the leading European media company in online video. RTL Group also owns the ad-tech businesses Smartclip and SpotX. For more information, please visit RTLGroup.com.

RTL Group – Entertain. Inform. Engage.

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