Press release

Stephan Schäfer becomes New CEO of Gruner + Jahr - Julia Jäkel Leaves the Publishing House cordially

Hamburg, March 31, 2021 - The 46-year-old journalist Stephan Schäfer will become the new CEO of Gruner + Jahr. He will be succeeding Julia Jäkel as from April 1, who, after 10 years in the lead, is leaving the Hamburg publishing house at her own request and amicably. Oliver Radtke will complete the Gruner + Jahr management team alongside Schäfer as COO. Both have been members of the Management Board since 2013. Schäfer will also continue as Managing Director Content & Brands of the Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland.

G+J management is also partially rearranging the Executive Committee of Gruner + Jahr as from April 1 - making it more digital, younger and more diverse. The Executive Committee manages G+J’s entrepreneurial activities and transformation. Chief Financial Officer, Udo Stalleicken, will continue to be a member of the Committee. Christina Dohmann (Member of the Executive Board of DPV), Sandra Harzer-Kux (CEO Territory), Carina Laudage and Bernd Hellermann (both Managing Directors of G+J Digital Media) will join the Committee as new members. Prisma Media CEO, Rolf Heinz, will leave once the sale of the French publishing subsidiary has been completed. Arne Wolter, Chief Digital Officer, is also leaving the Executive Committee. He has decided to leave G+J after 20 successful years, following a handover period in the course of spring.

Bertelsmann CEO, Thomas Rabe: “I deeply regret Julia Jäkel's decision to step down from her positions at Gruner + Jahr and Bertelsmann. Over the past few years, she has transformed    Gruner + Jahr from a traditional magazine publisher into a modern, digital media company, and has taken her employees well along with her on this journey. I want to thank her for her outstanding achievements, both for Gruner + Jahr and for Bertelsmann. At the same time, I look forward to continuing to work closely with Stephan Schäfer in his new position and with the entire G+J management team.”

Julia Jäkel: “My move to leave G+J is a very personal life decision. The past year also made me think about what life still has in store for me. I am now giving these thoughts more space. That’s why I asked Bertelsmann to make this possible.  I leave Gruner + Jahr full of gratitude. Gratitude to Thomas Rabe and Bertelsmann, and especially to all the employees at G+J who have made the successes of the past years possible. Gruner + Jahr has proven it can transform media; the company is more digital, more creative and robust, and that fills me with pride. Gruner + Jahr, its brands, its people will always remain a part of me. I couldn’t have asked for a better transition than to hand over to Stephan and Oliver.”

Stephan Schäfer, new CEO of G+J: “We have made Gruner + Jahr more digital in recent years, strengthened our brands and become more creative. Unique opportunities also arise for us within the AdAlliance and the Bertelsmann Content Alliance. It gives me very great pleasure to take on these new challenges. I sincerely wish Julia all the best and I know I speak for all the staff when I say to her: thank you! I look forward to continuing my close and trusting working relationship with Oliver. At the same time, I am continuing my work at Mediengruppe RTL with enthusiasm and vigor.”

Oliver Radtke, COO G+J: “Everything we have achieved to date is down to the employees at Gruner + Jahr. They are the very life of our house. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue shaping the future of the publishing house with these colleagues and I relish the prospect of this role.”

Julia Jäkel was appointed to the Executive Board of Gruner + Jahr in 2012, and has been the company’s CEO since 2013. In 2019, she also took over as Chair of the Board of the Bertelsmann Content Alliance, which coordinates the media group’s content businesses in Germany.

G+J underwent a fundamental transformation under Jäkel's leadership. The digital business grew to almost 40% of sales today and is making a significant contribution to profitability. The AppLike Group, founded in the fast-growing app economy segment, has developed into an internationally successful company. The magazine business has been extensively modernized and expanded to include numerous new magazines and the Deutsche Medienmanufaktur (DMM) venture. In new alliances and partnerships, G+J has co-shaped markets; with the AdAlliance, Germany’s largest cross-media advertiser has been created, and with Territory, the leading content communications agency . At the same time, G+J consistently withdrew from businesses that no longer aligned with its strategy or were not profitable enough, for example a printing business in the USA and various foreign activities.

Personal Information:

Julia Jäkel, born in 1971 in Mainz, studied history, political science and economics at Heidelberg in Germany, Harvard, USA and Cambridge, UK. She began her career in 1997 in the Bertelsmann Entrepreneurs Program, which led her to Gruner + Jahr one year later. Jäkel belonged to the founding team of the “Financial Times Deutschland”. In 2004, she took over the management of the BRIGITTE Group, and in 2008 the management of about 20 magazines. In 2012, she became a member of the Gruner + Jahr Board of Directors and became CEO in 2013. In the same year, she was appointed to the Group Management Committee of Bertelsmann. In 2019, she also took over as Chair of the Board of the Bertelsmann Content Alliance. Jäkel is Media Manager of the Year 2016 (Kress), Media Woman of the Year 2017 (Horizont) and Media Personality of the Year 2018 (W&V).

Stephan Schäfer, born in Witten in 1974, graduated from the Axel Springer School of Journalism. He joined Gruner + Jahr in 2009, initially as Editor-in-Chief of SCHÖNER WOHNEN and BRIGITTE, and later also as Managing Director of this publishing group. In 2013, he took over the role of Chief Product Officer at Gruner + Jahr. Since February 2019 he has also been Managing Director Content & Brands of the Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. Stephan Schäfer is a member of the Board of the Bertelsmann Content Alliance.

Oliver Radtke, born in 1968 in Crivitz, is an industrial engineer with an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau. His career at Gruner + Jahr began in 1995 in Controlling. This was followed by management functions in the central division, including Central Paper Purchasing and IT. He became Managing Director G+J Operations in 2007. He spent three years as Chairman of the Management Board of the DDV Media Group in Dresden from 2010. Radtke has been steering the transformation process at G+J since 2013 as Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Management Board.

Press Enquiries

Frank Thomsen                        
Executive Vice President Communication + Marketing
Gruner + Jahr GmbH
20444 Hamburg            
Telefon  +49 (0) 171 / 415 97 27             

Ann-Catrin Boll-Ricker
Deputy Head of Corporate Communication
Gruner + Jahr GmbH
20444 Hamburg        
Telefon  +49 (0) 40 / 37 03 - 31 96