Frequently asked questions and answers
Below you will find the questions most frequently asked about the Bertelsmann Group, and the answers to them.
What lines of business is Bertelsmann active in?
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has 126,000 employees and generated revenues of €18.0 billion in the 2019 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world. Bertelsmann aspires to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.
What is Bertelsmann's organizational structure?
Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, a non-listed partnership limited by shares (KGaA), is managed by the General Partner (Bertelsmann Management SE) represented by its Executive Board. The Board members and their respective divisions are: Thomas Rabe (Chief Executive Officer), Markus Dohle (Penguin Random House), Immanuel Hermreck (Chief Human Resources Officer) and Bernd Hirsch (Chief Financial Officer).
What is the shareholder structure and the distribution of voting rights at Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA?
Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is a capital-market-oriented but unlisted partnership limited by shares. Foundations (Bertelsmann Stiftung, RM Stiftung, BVG Stiftung) indirectly hold 80.9 percent of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA shares, with the other 19.1 percent held indirectly by the Mohn family. Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft (BVG) controls all voting rights at the Annual General Meeting of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA and Bertelsmann Management SE (General Partner).
What does the Bertelsmann Stiftung do?
The Bertelsmann Stiftung is an independent, non-profit foundation. It is an organization that works operatively and conceptually to identify social problem areas and to develop and implement solutions. The Foundation finances its business operations mainly through the dividends it receives from its indirect stake in Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA.
What function does the Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft (BVG) have and who are its shareholders?
The BVG controls 100 percent of the voting rights at the Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA Annual General Meeting. The BVG’s mandate is to uphold the interests of the Bertelsmann Management SE as the General Partner, the Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation and the Mohn family as Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA limited shareholders, and to safeguard the continuity of the company’s management and Bertelsmann’s distinctive corporate culture.
What role does corporate governance play at Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA?
Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA as well as Bertelsmann Management SE attributes great value to good corporate governance, which is dedicated to the goal of long-term value enhancement. Since going into effect, the guidelines and recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Codex have been a standard for the business management and supervision at Bertelsmann. The internal guidelines and processes for the Executive Board, the Supervisory Board and the shareholders' meeting as well as the standards for accounting and transparency are measured against this standard. Bertelsmann – even unlisted – has decided to adopt with only few exceptions the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Codex, which is oriented towards publicly listed companies. Exceptions are made, especially in respect to those code guidelines which, in the opinion of Bertelsmann, apply to publicly held enterprises with large numbers of shareholders. Bertelsmann therefore largely complies with the standards for good and responsible corporate governance of listed companies set by the German Corporate Governance Codex.
How is corporate governance at Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA regulated?
Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is a partnership limited by shares (KGaA) with a European corporation (SE) as a General Partner. The corporate governance expects a separation of the business management and supervisory functions. The Bertelsmann Management SE represented by its Executive Board is solely responsible for the management of the company. The members of the Executive Board jointly carry the responsibility for the management. The Executive Board is appointed by the Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann Management SE, which – exclusively obligated to serve the corporate interest – is independent and not bound by instructions in its decision-making process. The Supervisory Board supervises the Executive Board and consults the latter in important business matters. Additionally the Supervisory Board of the KGaA supervises the group management by the personally liable partner. The members of both Supervisory Boards are appointed in their respective Annual General Meeting.
What criteria are used to select members of the Supervisory Board?
The members of the Supervisory Board of the SE and the KGaA are appointed by their respective shareholders' meeting. The Supervisory Board of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is composed of representatives of the family, experienced entrepreneurial personalities and – on a voluntary basis – employees from group companies. Members of the Bertelsmann Management SE Supervisory Board are representatives of the family and experienced entrepreneurial personalities. Corresponding to Bertelsmann's activities, the Supervisory Board has an international composition. Bertelsmann attaches great importance to the work and capabilities of the Supervisory Board. This is reflected in the specific expertise of its individual members.