Thomas Rabe (manager)

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Thomas Rabe (2015) Thomas Rabe 2015-1.jpg
Thomas Rabe (2015)

Thomas Rabe (born August 6, 1965, in Luxembourg) is a German manager. [1] In 2006, he was appointed to the Bertelsmann executive board, of which he has been chairman and chief executive officer since 2012. [2] [3] Under his leadership, the Group has become more international, more digital and more diversified. [4] [5] In particular, he has advanced the business with music rights and the educational division. [6] Additionally, Rabe was appointed chief executive officer of RTL Group in 2019. [7]

Luxembourg Grand duchy in western Europe

Luxembourg, officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a small landlocked country in western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. Its capital, Luxembourg City, is one of the three official capitals of the European Union and the seat of the European Court of Justice, the highest judicial authority in the EU. Its culture, people, and languages are highly intertwined with its neighbours, making it essentially a mixture of French and German cultures, as evident by the nation's three official languages: French, German, and the national language, Luxembourgish. The repeated invasions by Germany, especially in World War II, resulted in the country's strong will for mediation between France and Germany and, among other things, led to the foundation of the European Union.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Management Coordinating the efforts of people

Management is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body. Management includes the activities of setting the strategy of an organization and coordinating the efforts of its employees to accomplish its objectives through the application of available resources, such as financial, natural, technological, and human resources. The term "management" may also refer to those people who manage an organization.


Early life and education

Rabe was born in 1965 in Luxembourg and grew up in Brussels, [8] [9] where his father worked as a civil servant in the European Coal and Steel Community from 1968. [10] He attended the European School and as a youth was a bass player in a punk band. [11] After completing his German baccalaureate (Abitur), Rabe studied Business and Economics at the RWTH Aachen and the University of Cologne. [12] After earning a degree in business administration in 1989, he obtained his doctorate in economics, with a doctoral thesis on "Liberalization and Deregulation in the European Single Market for Insurance" in 1995. [13]

Brussels Capital region of Belgium

Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region. Brussels is the most densely populated and the richest region in Belgium in terms of GDP per capita. It covers 161 km2 (62 sq mi), a relatively small area compared to the two other regions, and has a population of 1.2 million. The metropolitan area of Brussels counts over 2.1 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium. It is also part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people.

European Coal and Steel Community international organisation serving to unify European countries after World War II

The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was an organisation of six European countries created after World War II to regulate their industrial production under a centralised authority. It was formally established in 1951 by the Treaty of Paris, signed by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. The ECSC was the first international organisation to be based on the principles of supranationalism, and started the process of formal integration which ultimately led to the European Union.

European School of Brussels I

The European School, Brussels I is a European School located in Uccle, Brussels, Belgium. Originally the second of the European Schools to be founded, the European School, Brussels I, is today one of four in Brussels, and thirteen such schools across the European Union (EU). It is an all-through school, which exists primarily to provide an education to children of EU staff and officials based in Brussels leading to the European Baccalaureate (EB) - a bilingual diploma - as their secondary leaving qualification.

In addition to his native language German, Rabe speaks English, French, Dutch and Spanish. [14]


Rabe began his career at the European Commission in Brussels. At the Commission, from 1989 he worked in the Directorate-General for Financial Institutions and Corporate Law. [10] One year later, he joined his supervisor in moving to the law firm Forrester, Norall & Sutton, [15] which today belongs to White & Case. [16] There he managed client accounts from the European Union, the United States and Japan. [15] In 1991, Rabe was employed by the Treuhand agency in Berlin. [17] In this capacity, among other responsibilities, he was in charge of the privatization of the assets of the Ministry for State Security and the National People's Army of the former GDR. [18] In 1993, he was promoted to head of the Controlling Department. [12] Subsequently, Rabe was involved as head of acquisitions at the Beteiligungsgesellschaft Neue Länder investment agency of the Association of German Banks (BdB), [13] in investing DM 400 million in East German companies. [18] After earning his Ph.D., in 1996 Rabe was hired as office head of the CEO of the Luxembourg financial service provider, Cedel International. [15] [18] He held additional positions there before being appointed chief financial officer in 1998. [19] In subsequent years, he prepared the merger of Cedel International with Deutsche Börse Clearing into Clearstream. [18]

European Commission executive institution of the European Union

The European Commission (EC) is an institution of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg City, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate. Unlike in the Council of the European Union, where members are directly and indirectly elected, and the European Parliament, where members are directly elected, the Commissioners are proposed by the Council of the European Union, on the basis of suggestions made by the national governments, and then appointed by the European Council after the approval of the European Parliament.

Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

The Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. It is one of the thirty three DG's that are created and named to reflect their functions.

White & Case LLP is an international law firm based in New York City. The firm was founded in New York in 1901.

In 2000, Rabe joined RTL Group as CFO. [13] Here, he was additionally responsible for strategy and the Luxembourg television and radio business. [20] Five years later, Bertelsmann brought him back to Gütersloh. [21] [22] [23] Rabe was appointed as the Group's CFO on January 1, 2006. [24] At the same time, he was responsible for the Bertelsmann Music Group until 2008. [13] Among other activities, Rabe also negotiated the buyback of shares from Groupe Bruxelles Lambert to prevent Bertelsmann from going public. [11] [25] In addition, the Group established its own investment fund in Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments. [26] Later, Rabe organized the return of Bertelsmann into the music business. [27] His recruitment of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. as an investor in BMG Rights Management was seen as a key decision for the music company's future development. [1]

RTL Group entertainment company

RTL Group is a Luxembourg-based digital media group with interests in 61 television and 30 radio stations in 10 countries. The group operates TV channels and radio stations in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary, and Croatia as well as production companies throughout the world. It is majority-owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann. Its shares are quoted on the MDAX stock exchange in Germany.

The chief financial officer (CFO) is the officer of a company that has primary responsibility for managing the company's finances, including financial planning, management of financial risks, record-keeping, and financial reporting. In some sectors, the CFO is also responsible for analysis of data. Some CFOs have the title CFOO for chief financial and operating officer. In the United Kingdom, the typical term for a CFO is finance director (FD). The CFO typically reports to the chief executive officer (CEO) and the board of directors and may additionally have a seat on the board. The CFO supervises the finance unit and is the chief financial spokesperson for the organization. The CFO directly assists the chief operating officer (COO) on all strategic and tactical matters relating to budget management, cost–benefit analysis, forecasting needs, and securing of new funding.

Bertelsmann Music Group record label company

Bertelsmann Music Group was a division of German media company Bertelsmann before its completion of sale of the majority of its assets to Japan's Sony Corporation of America on 1 October 2008. Although it was established in 1987, the music company was formed as RCA/Ariola International in 1984 as a joint venture to combine the music label activities of RCA Corporation's RCA Records division and Bertelsmann's Ariola Records and its associated labels which include Arista Records. It consisted of the BMG Music Publishing company, the world's third largest music publisher and the world's largest independent music publisher, and the 50% share of the joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment, which established the German American Sony BMG Music Entertainment from 2004 to 2008.

Around 2009 Rabe was reportedly considered as future CEO of the ProSiebenSat.1 Media group and of the Franz Haniel & Cie. investment holding, [28] but Rabe ultimately stayed with Bertelsmann. [29] [30]

Chief executive officer highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator

The chief executive officer (CEO) or just chief executive (CE), is the most senior corporate, executive, or administrative officer in charge of managing an organization – especially an independent legal entity such as a company or nonprofit institution. CEOs lead a range of organizations, including public and private corporations, non-profit organizations and even some government organizations. The CEO of a corporation or company typically reports to the board of directors and is charged with maximizing the value of the entity, which may include maximizing the share price, market share, revenues or another element. In the non-profit and government sector, CEOs typically aim at achieving outcomes related to the organization's mission, such as reducing poverty, increasing literacy, etc.

ProSiebenSat.1 Media German mass media company

ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE is a European mass media company, based in Germany. It operates free-to-air commercial TV channels, pay television channels, radio stations and related print businesses. It was formed on October 2, 2000 by the merger of German TV broadcasters ProSieben Media AG and Sat.1 SatellitenFernsehen GmbH. The company is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH is a German family-owned group of companies with the holding company headquartered in Duisburg, Germany. Haniel was founded in 1756 in the city of Ruhrort, now Duisburg. Today the company is one of Europe's largest privately owned family businesses. The Haniel family consists of more than 600 family members and is considered as one of the wealthiest families in Germany.

CEO of Bertelsmann, 2012–present

After Hartmut Ostrowski announced his retirement as chairman and CEO in 2011, [31] Rabe was declared his successor, effective January 1, 2012. [32] [33] With Rabe's appointment, Bertelsmann ushered in a strategy change towards stronger growth. [34] [35] [36] Under his leadership, Bertelsmann experienced increased growth into Brazil, China, and India, and consolidated this development by bundling these activities in the Bertelsmann Investments division. [37] [38] Also, Rabe managed to complete the merger of Penguin Books with Random House to create the world's largest trade book publisher, and the purchase of the remaining shares in Gruner + Jahr. [39] [40] He built the education division into an additional pillar of the business, [41] [42] which today operates as the Bertelsmann Education Group. [43] He consolidated the printing operations into the Bertelsmann Printing Group. [44] Thus, by 2016, he had expanded the number of corporate divisions to eight. [45] [46]

Rabe's contract as chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann's executive board runs until 2021. [47] [48] As CEO of RTL Group, he oversees the company's TV unit; [49] he is a member of the board of directors of Penguin Random House, among others. [50]

Other activities

Corporate boards
Non-profit boards

Personal life

Rabe lives in Gütersloh and Berlin and is married to a neurologist. [56] [57] The couple collects modern art and, in 2015, purchased a Henry van de Velde-designed villa in Tervuren near Brussels. [58]

Rabe is a member of the Catholic fraternity AV Hansea-Berlin zu Köln. [59]

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