Thomas Hesse, Ex-Sony Music Exec, Joins RTL Group Board
Thomas Hesse, Ex-Sony Music Exec, Joins RTL Group Board

As Billboard first reported yesterday, the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann AG has officially appointed Thomas Hesse to the international media company's Executive Board where his responsibilities will include managing the corporation's global and digital business development.

"His tasks will be to advance the group's business development, build new businesses for Bertelsmann, and facilitate the digital transformation of the core businesses," said Bertelsmann in a statement this morning. "In this role he will be responsible for the growth platforms Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) and Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI), for the Education business and for the holding in the BMG music rights company."

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Hesse will start February 1, 2012. A month after current Chief Financial Officer Thomas Rabe assumes the mantle of Chairman of the Executive Board on January 1, 2012. Rabe currently oversees the business sectors Hesse will manage.

Thomas Hesse is currently president of Sony Music's global digital business in New York and was formerly an executive at Bertelsmann until 2008.

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Gunter Thielen, Chairman of the Bertelsmann AG Supervisory Board, said in a statement: "In Thomas Hesse, we are gaining a top-notch, internationally renowned executive for Bertelsmann's Executive Board. With his expertise, he will provide valuable impetus for Bertelsmann's further development and help to increase the company's value long-term."

Thomas Rabe, designated Chairman & CEO of Bertelsmann AG, added in a statement: "Thomas Hesse knows Bertelsmann very well from his earlier work and is well acquainted with the international media world. He brings to his new position a high level of expertise and a profound understanding of the digital challenges a global media company faces."

Thomas Hesse, 45, has served as head of the worldwide digital business and chief strategist at Sony BMG, now Sony Music Entertainment, since 2005. In his current New York-based position he is responsible for U.S. sales.

Hesse, who holds a doctorate in economics, came to Sony from Bertelsmann as a result of the 2004 merger between BMG and Sony Music. Under his leadership, Sony Music massively expanded its worldwide digital businesses.