Last Friday, Bertelsmann, the German media conglomerate that owns Random House, announced that Hartmut Ostrowski will be its new chief executive officer starting in 2008. Ostrowski has been a member of Bertelsmann’s executive board for the past six years. He will succeed the current CEO, Gunter Thielen, who will become chairman of the company’s supervisory board.
Bertelsmann, which posted revenues of over $22 billion in 2005, employs over seventy-five thousand people in sixty-three countries. In addition to Random House, which it purchased in 1998, the company owns RTL Group, Europe’s largest television and radio broadcaster; the magazine publisher Gruner and Jahr; and Bertelsmann Music Group, which merged with Sony in 2004. Ostrowski, who joined Bertelsmann in 1982, was nominated for the new position by Liz Mohn, the head of the German family that now controls seventy-five percent of the company.