The change in leadership at Gruner + Jahr: now Comes the Fusion with RTL?

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Emma Teitel
Emma Teitel
Emma Teitel is an award-winning national affairs columnist with the Toronto Star who writes about anything and everything. She got her start at Maclean's Magazine where she wrote frequently about women's issues, LGBT rights, and popular culture.

Before Stephan Schäfer to the top of the publishing house Gruner + Jahr (G+J) ascent, he had to get rid of a strong man – a titans: Dieter Bohlen. The Bertelsmann group, which consists of G+J, the TV station RTL, was Bohlen long been a thorn in the eye. Nevertheless, the Treaty was an extension of the “Germany-the Superstar”-Chefjurors always been a pure matter of form. Bohlen was “American idol” since no one wanted to shake it.

That all changed about three weeks ago, Schäfer was it, the Planks in the premises of the Hamburg-based publisher announced that it intends to waive him. Schäfer had directed the conversation and the message delivered it out of his environment, he wished he had more family to watch TV, the less humiliations, like you were in “American idol” on the agenda. Planks arbitration and has since been mad at his previous station.

Schäfer, so much is clear, is set in the future some of the crucial Soft at Bertelsmann. For quite some time in the G+J-Board is also available for the content of RTL Germany. He has also been in the “Content Alliance Board” of Bertelsmann, to ensure that the group’s daughters in content, from the “star” on n-tv to the book’s publisher, Random House. Now Schäfer, Julia Jäkel replaces at the top of the G+J. Little wonder, then, that many connoisseurs of the house, see it as a sign for a possible merger of the two houses.

The dream of a Champion

In the Bertelsmann Headquarters in Gütersloh you to think longer about it, to unite the many brands under one roof. CEO Thomas Rabe believes in the creation of “cross-media, national Champions” to digital giants like Netflix and Amazon counter. Long was a pipe dream because of the Hamburg publisher insisted on its historically independence. Since this year is different: Bertelsmann speaks openly, allegedly, “result” – about how a future cooperation between G+J and RTL can look, but the direction is clear. Anything other than a merger of the two houses would be a Surprise. The disposal of Jäkel in this question of an incision.

Jäkel, for almost 25 years in the publishing house and in the tenth year, the Executive Board chief, was for many editors and the editor of a guarantee that the G+J-editors degenerated into a Fusion tags from the jungle camp and super talent. That Jäkel now leaves the house, came in for a large part of the publisher’s surprising, even if the departure of the “friendship”, and at his own request, was, as it says in the press release, because Jäkel wool turn up in your life, a new Chapter. Some were disturbed by the fact that the Boss was perceived lately, it’s more like a foreign Minister of the publishing long posts on LinkedIn or published on the Bilderberg conference networked. She, too, was in their G+J career never squeamish when it came to saving plans: The Germany branch of the “Financial Times” locked it, as well as the Hipster magazine Neon. But after all, she was considered to be genuine Gruner greenhouse. You have to be able to speak with her, always research and journalistic ideas, tell editors. In shepherd, there is greater doubt.

The publishing house as a giant mixer

Shepherd is not in the call to care much for quality journalism, but rather, what are the editorial staff as profitably as possible together, to raise the rate of return. The publishing house for him is a giant mixer, with content across all of the journals of the house wherever they want. The recipe force, equipped in addition to “food & Drink” also “Living at Home”, reports on patchwork families are scattered by the “Brigitte” on a lot of other titles.

This attitude has worked shepherd in the favor of Bertelsmann chief Rabe far. He is regarded as the terrain in a group that has in the past few years, the autonomy of his former self-conscious saves the heads of ground. The insisted-sometimes obstinate to the fact that at Bertelsmann, the principle of decentralization applied. Even if it should agree that the idea to go with the RTL of Jäkel, even with Bertelsmann, it was argued that shepherd the strong man would be, was.

Harbinger of the merger

It is officially called, but the change at the top was not a decision for the merger with RTL, however, the matter should be decided, in principle. This is also another indication speaks. In the invitation of the RTL Group annual General meeting on may 28. April will be proposed by the members of the Supervisory Board for a further three years for re-election. No longer on the list of two names, which would have been voted out of old ties, very probably, against a Rise of G+J in the RTL-cosmos: the earlier G+J-Chef Bernd Kundrun and Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, former “star”-editor-in-chief, and in the nineties, G+J-Executive Board.

According to mixed emotions now: In the case of RTL, the anticipation reigned after the announcement: “Well, serene, and resolved,” was the sentiment, reported to a Manager, you can see in a video conference with the shepherd “only smiling faces”. Ensure, however, in the case of the editors and reporters of the Hamburg-based publisher. The finish Jäkels “that was a huge incision be” sighs an employee.

For Jäkel the coming weeks and months, it would become quite difficult. In order to make the minority shareholders of the RTL Group, Gruner-Acquisition tasty, must Bertelsmann currently have interest in the publishing house in Hamburg is a bargain comes along. The planned sale of the France business fits well: Although the magazines drop a stable rate of return, are now to be 300 million euros in sales repelled. Jäkel would have had to watch in the coming half a year, how to Gütersloh is talking about the Store is small and expects. For Bertelsmann, the in-house has to Deal, however, the charm of The sale of G+J RTL would bring in Cash, that could invest in the group, for example, in the thriving book of business.

The farewell is easy for her and brutally hard

The problem is the disposal of Jäkels is in the outer effect: Only two years ago, Bertelsmann was the goal, to occupy until 2021 “at least 33 percent of the positions in Top and Senior Management of all areas of the company” with women. The group is expected to be in the Moment far. In the highest levels of management, men rule. Bernd Reichart, already in 2019, from Anke Schäferkordt the RTL-Germany-management took over, will in the future replace Jäkel, as Chairman of the Content Alliance. Julia Reuter as RTL-Responsible for staff, culture, and strategy, the last female leadership in higher Offices. At Bertelsmann, it refers at least to the growing number of women in the Group Management Committee. In the case of an internal event Schaefer quipped that he was, after all, been editor-in-chief of the “Brigitte”. Women in the top management does not replace the more.

Jäkel even took a video message of their workforce, it is over eight minutes long and very emotional. Farewell to G+J case, at the same time “easily and naturally brutally difficult,” says Jäkel in it. Easy, because you should be proud of what you’ve done with Bertelsmann, and because she could “wish for a more beautiful and better and more elegant Transition”. Brutally difficult, because you had grown, the publisher of the heart, there had been a kind of “identity verschwimmung”, between her and the big house. As the new leadership team answered a few hours later, questions about the orientation of G+J, no longer sat Jäkel already on the Podium.

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