Press Release

Press Release | Gütersloh, 03/03/2021

Bertelsmann Commemorates Centennial of Post-War Founder Reinhard Mohn

Renowned Entrepreneur honored with book publication, ceremony and other formats

Bertelsmann is honoring its post-war founder and longtime Chairman & CEO Reinhard Mohn by commemorating what would have been his 100th birthday this year with a multifaceted anniversary program. Key components include the publication of a new book about Reinhard Mohn and a ceremony at the Gütersloh headquarters of the international media, services, and education company. In the fall, there will be a special prize for young founders, named after Reinhard Mohn, at the German Founders’ Award ceremony. Bertelsmann is also supporting a prominent exhibition project in Dusseldorf that features the former Bertelsmann CEO as a key figure in North Rhine-Westphalia’s media history.

Reinhard Mohn was born in Gütersloh on June 29, 1921. He represents the fifth generation of the Bertelsmann/Mohn owner families. After returning from being a prisoner of war in the U.S., he took over the management of C. Bertelsmann, at that time a medium-sized printing and publishing house, from his father Heinrich Mohn in 1947. In the decades that followed, he laid the foundations for Bertelsmann’s rise to become a global corporation, which today has more than 120,000 employees in 50 countries. Reinhard Mohn is considered one of the foremost German entrepreneurs of the 20th century. He passed away on October 3, 2009, at the age of 88, but continues to shape Bertelsmann’s corporate values, governance philosophy and entrepreneurial activities to this day.

To launch the anniversary year, C. Bertelsmann Verlag will publish a 200-page portrait entitled “Reinhard Mohn – Ein Jahrhundertunternehmer” in May 2021. In it, the renowned historian Prof. Dr. Joachim Scholtyseck puts Reinhard Mohn’s life’s work into historical perspective. The biographical text is supplemented by many personal documents, including letters and travel notes, as well as previously unpublished photos of Mohn’s entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities. Bertelsmann Chairman & CEO Thomas Rabe will present the book together with Prof. Scholtyseck at the Gütersloh Theater in early June 2021. The event, part of The Blue Sofa literary format, will also be live-streamed on the internet.

On June 29, when Reinhard Mohn would have turned 100, the Executive Board and the owner family will invite guests to a ceremony at the Group’s Corporate Center in Gütersloh. Depending on the course of the Corona pandemic, the ceremony will take place online, or in front of an audience in compliance with the applicable safety rules.

Bertelsmann is contributing various exhibits to the exhibition marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of North Rhine-Westphalia, at the Haus der Geschichte NRW in Düsseldorf. It will feature Reinhard Mohn alongside other formative figures in North Rhine-Westphalia’s media history.

Bertelsmann is also endowing a prize for young founders named after Reinhard Mohn, who received a German Founders' Award in 2007 for his lifetime achievement. The new award will be presented at the German Founders' Prize gala in Berlin in September, with Liz Mohn in attendance. The best teams of the German Founders’ Award for high school students will then experience real founder spirit during a five-day hackathon in and around Berlin - in keeping with Reinhard Mohn’s visionary spirit: They will work with an already successful social start-up to bring their project ideas to implementation readiness. The results will then be presented virtually, in a hybrid format, or in front of an audience at Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1 in Berlin, and a winning team will be chosen.

Further information about Reinhard Mohn: 

About Bertelsmann
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. In 2021, Bertelsmann commemorates the 100th birthday of Reinhard Mohn, the Group's late post-war founder and long-time Chairman & CEO.