Middelhoff exits as Bertelsmann chairman-CEO

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Gutersloh, Germany--Media giant Bertelsmann AG, which owns BMG Music, Random House, and Gruner + Jahr (publishers of Inc and Fast Company,) announced Sunday that Thomas Middelhoff, chairman-CEO, is leaving the company.

Gunter Thielen, head of the Bertelsmann Foundation, which controls more than 50% of the privately held company, is the new chairman-CEO. Siegfried Luther, CFO of Bertelsmann AG since 1990, will be appointed deputy chairman of the executive board.

Middelhoff's departure under pressure does not appear to be financially motivated. The financial results for Bertelsmann are “on budget” for the first half of 2002 and the company expects a “return on its profit participation certificates of 15%,” according to a statement.

Middelhoff is rumored to be a candidate for the job as CEO of Deutsche Telekom, according to published reports.

--Sean Callahan

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