German authors rights body GEMA generated record earnings of more than €850 million ($1 billion) for the year 2005, its outgoing president and CEO Reinhold Kreile told members in a letter at th

German authors rights body GEMA generated record earnings of more than €850 million ($1 billion) for the year 2005, its outgoing president and CEO Reinhold Kreile told members in a letter at the end of December. Kreile retired Dec. 31 after more than 15 years at the helm.

In the letter, which was issued to all GEMA members, Kreile said income grew by 6% compared with the previous year. "During the past 16 years we have doubled GEMA's revenue from €400 million ($473 million) to €850 million ($1 billion) in 2005," he wrote. The society lowered its cost ratio to below 14%, he added, down from about 14.4% in 2004.

As previously reported, Harald Hecker has been appointed to succeed the long-time GEMA chief. Heker, until recently managing director of the German Federal Book Industry Assn. in Frankfurt, has joined the executive board. From January 2007, he will assume sole responsibility for the society as CEO.