The CEO of Europe’s biggest broadcaster RTL Group is leaving the company to be succeeded by Guillaume de Posch and Anke Schäferkordt as co-CEOs.
Zeiler will step down from April 18 at the company’s annual general meeting to take on an as-yet undisclosed new challenge outside the business he has been with for over 13 years.
De Posch, who joined last month as RTL chief operating officer, will take over responsibility for the group’s broadcasting operations outside Germany, and the company’s production business.
Schäferkordt will continue to manage the German TV business in addition to her role as CEO of RTL Group.
“On behalf of all shareholders and the entire RTL Group board, I thank Gerhard Zeiler for his outstanding achievements in his 13 years at RTL and nearly nine years as CEO of RTL Group,” said Siegfried Luther, chairman of the RTL Group board of directors.
“Under his excellent management, RTL Group has become the undisputed number one free-to-air TV company in Europe, and a globally renowned brand for popular, high-quality television.
“Guillaume de Posch and Anke Schäferkordt, two exceedingly experienced, internationally recognised managers, will take over the management of RTL Group. I am delighted that the two have agreed to take on this task together with the group’s CFO, Elmar Heggen.”
Thomas Rabe, who over as CEO of RTL majority shareholder Bertelsmann at the beginning of this year, added: “I regret Gerhard’s decision to leave the company, but would like to personally congratulate him on the impressive success story of the past decade. Under his leadership, the group’s revenues, EBITA and return on sales showed an exemplary development, and the company is strategically and powerfully positioned for continued growth.”
“The decision to leave was not an easy one, but on the other hand I look forward to a new, international task,” said Zeiler.
His departure comes after RTL last month said it was exiting the Greek market. Last year, the company consolidated its operations in Croatia and in Hungary and took back the 26.3% of RTL Nederland that Talpa Media owned. It also announced a joint venture in India with Reliance Broadcast Networks. At one point it was linked to a bid for Endemol. RTL pulled out of the UK broadcast market in 2010 when it sold off Channel 5.
Zeiler joined RTL in November 1998 as CEO of RTL Television in Cologne, responsible for the German RTL family of channels (RTL Television, Vox, RTL II, Super RTL, N-TV). He was made CEO of the group, which houses FremantleMedia, in March 2003 and handed over management of RTL Television to Schäferkordt in September 2005. He is a member of the supervisory boards of M6 Group in France and RTL Television in Germany and has been a member of the Bertelsmann executive board since October 2005.