Diversity through Partnership
Ian Hudson, CEO of Dorling Kindersley (DK), talks about the Bertelsmann Management Representative Committee, diversity management at Bertelsmann, and the role of employee diversity at DK.
Ian Hudson, in addition to being CEO of DK, you are also a member of Bertelsmann’s Supervisory Board and Chair of the Bertelsmann Management Representative Committee (BMRC). First of all, what exactly is the BMRC and what is its function?
Ian Hudson _ Reinhard Mohn established the BMRC in 1974. It was an expression of his inclusive and comprehensive philosophy of partnership between the company and its employees. The role of the BMRC is to function as a cross-divisional and international interface between shareholders, the Executive Board and our business leaders on key issues regarding corporate culture, corporate policy, corporate strategy and general management.
And how would you describe the BMRC's activities?
IH _ As a management representative committee, we’ve always been a sounding board for the CEO and Board members, as well as actively promoting projects which directly benefit and are in the interest of management.
And what about diversity issues?
IH _ The BMRC is a real champion of diversity, which we feel is no longer a business option, but a strategic business imperative! We played a key role in bringing the issue back to center stage in 2009. While at the time there were no full-time resources allocated to the topic – and it wasn’t featured on the corporate agenda – still, the Executive Board needed to properly understand how diverse the company actually was, how well it benchmarked against other media groups, and how we could fully realize the benefits of a more diverse company.
And since 2009?
IH _ We've seen significant progress. The issue of diversity was given priority by Thomas Rabe with Immanuel Hermreck taking the lead. The creation of quite a diverse General Management Committee (GMC), for example, and the appointment of Anke Schäferkordt to the Executive Board have been important steps. Another turning point was the implementation of the Diversity Management department, under the leadership of Marie-Luise Kühn von Burgsdorff, in 2011.
What role does diversity management play for the publishing business at DK?
IH _ At DK we focus on meeting the needs and desires of all consumers. Our team is made up of people from different backgrounds with different perspectives, and this allows us to publish the best books that appeal to readers across the globe, while at the same time contributing to a richer, more creative working environment. DK has always had a forward-thinking approach when it comes to recruitment and our workplace culture, and we prioritize getting the right person with the right skill set for the job. We have a strong female, multinational and multicultural presence across our global businesses. Diversity is embedded in everything we do as a company and is of fundamental importance to our success.
Read more about diversity and other corporate responsibility topics in the magazine "24/7 Responsibility" .