Chairman's Foreword

Dear readers,

The year 2020 was an exceptional one also for Bertelsmann, demanding a great deal from everyone in the company. Looking back, I am particularly grateful that so far we have succeeded in providing our 132,000 employees around the world with the best possible protection against COVID-19 infections at their workplaces through a comprehensive bundle of measures. We also took successful countermeasures from an economic point of view, kept Bertelsmann on a growth course, and ultimately closed the year with a record operating EBITDA.

Bertelsmann’s media and services are particularly relevant during the pandemic: in times of uncertainty, we provide information and entertainment with our books, magazines, music and TV formats.

With Bertelsmann_next, we are now further refining our corporate strategy. In this context, we will set ourselves additional Group targets – beyond “Climate Neutrality 2030” – for our priority Corporate Responsibility (CR) topics. Our ambition is to advance Bertelsmann’s CR strategy in line with our stakeholders’ expectations.

As an employer, as a business partner, and with all its products and services, Bertelsmann is a member of the global community. Our mindset is codified in the Bertelsmann Essentials: “We‘re mindful of the impact we have on society and environment, and we seek to make a positive difference.”

We are continuously working on this and thank you for your interest.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Rabe
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bertelsmann

P.S. This report also serves as our annual Communication on Progress on the implementation of the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles.