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

Thomas Hesse, 45, President of Global Digital Business at Sony Music Entertainment in New York -- who has managed Sony Music's worldwide digital business since 2004 and is in charge of corporate strategy -- is leaving Sony Music in New York to return to Bertelsmann, according to well-informed sources in Germany.

Reps for Sony Music in the U.S. and Bertelsmann in Germany declined to comment.

According to one soure, however, the matter is on the agenda of this week's meeting of the Bertelsmann Media Group's supervisory board.

Hesse has a long history with Thomas Rabe, currently Bertelsmann AG's CFO and the company's designated CEO starting on January 1, 2012. The pair worked together for more than ten years, including between 2004 and 2008 during Sony-BMG's merger.

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One insider said Hesse will be in charge of corporate development, digital and new business at Bertelsmann, all areas Rabe apparently wants to expand.

Hesse was also a close colleague of Sony CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, who was replaced by Doug Morris earlier this year.


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Hesse studied at Oxford University and began his career with McKinsey & Company in New York. In 1996 he was appointed head of corporate development at the Bertelsmann subsidiary UFA, then moving on to RTL.