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Thomas Middelhoff


Years of Management Experience at the Highest Levels


As a Board Member (1994-2002) he was responsible for the development of the strategy. As the CEO (1998-2002) of Bertelsmann, Thomas positioned the company as a pioneer of digital media and one of the major media conglomerates in the world.


Thomas led Bertelsmann's internet and digital activities and was responsible for Bertelsmann's joint venture with AoL in 1995. He then became Board Member of Aol Inc. (1995-2000).


From 2002 to 2005, Thomas led the European activities of global private equity investor Investcorp.


Thomas was appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Arcandor AG in 2004. In 2005, he was appointed CEO of Arcandor AG, with a 3-year contract to save the company. In 2008, his contract was extended by one year at the request of the employee representatives.

The New York Times

Thomas was Board Member for the New York Times (2003-2014). In this position he supervised the transition of the New York Times to a digital newspaper.


1984 - 1986

1980 - 1983

1975 - 1979









Beginning of 2018






11/2010 - 11/2014

03/2009 - 10/2010

05/2005 - 02/2009

06/2003 - 05/2005

1986 - 2002

11/1998 - 07/2002







2006 - 2014

2010 - 2014

2009 - 2014

2003 - 2014

2008 - 2009

2007 - 2009

2005 - 2009

2005 - 2009

2007 - 2008

2005 - 2008

2005 - 2008

2004 - 2007

2004 - 2006

2004 - 2005

2003 - 2005


2000 - 2002

1998 - 2002

1999 - 2001

1999 - 2000

1998 - 2000

1998 - 2000

1995 - 2000


Since 2008


2008 - 2013

2008 - 2009

2007 - 2010

2007 - 2009

2006 - 2009

2004 - 2009

2003 - 2004

2002 - 2009

2002 - 2007

2001 - 2002

1999 - 2004

1999 - 2003

1999 - 2002

1998 - 2002

In 2007

In 2001

In 1998


Doctoral Thesis on Online Service and Retail at the University of Saarland, Saarbruecken Degree: Ph.D.

University of Muenster, Institute of Marketing

Study of Business Administration at the University of Muenster
Core disciplines: Marketing and Information Technologies                                 
Degree: Business Administration (Diplom-Kaufmann)

Professional Experience

CEO at Middelhoff Consulting GmbH

Foundation of Middelhoff Consulting GmbH

Senior Advisor at Mountain Partners AG and consultant in Switzerland and abroad

Insolvency exemption

OMR publishes a documentary on Youtube about "Middelhoff- Der krasse Fall eines Managers" (Middelhoff - the blatant case of a manager), which uses material that a production company had produced for WDR, but WDR did not want to broadcast. This Youtube documentary has 740,000 views so far (as of February 2023).

Publication of the book "Future missed? Why Germany overslept digitalization. And how the crisis is helping us to catch up after all" together with Dr. Cornelius Boersch. The book was published in 6 languages and includes forewords by Steve Case (ex. CEO & Chairman AOLTime Warner) & Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Rayport (Harvard University), Noboyuki Idei (ex-CEO & Chairman Sony Corp.) and Prof. Dr. Jiren Liu, Founder, CEO & Charmain Neusoft, depending on the language version.

A 115 is published supplemented and revised in paperback

Publication of the book "Schuldig - Vom Scheitern und Wiederaufstehen," which also becomes a SPIEGEL bestseller

Begins lecturing at the University of Innsbruck with the first lecture titled: "From Heaven to Hell". This is followed by many more lectures in the following years.

Release from prison

Publication of the book A 115, while still incarcerated in the open prison system. A 115 criticizes the conditions of imprisonment in Germany and in particular the form of suicide control practiced up to that time. After legal disputes with SPIEGEL, A 115 becomes a SPIEGEL bestseller

Commencement of prison sentence at the Bielefeld Senne Prison open prison system and works as an assistant at Bodelschwingsche Anstalten Bethel

Release (seriously ill as a result of sleep deprivation) from pre-trial detention on bail of €875,000.00, surrender of passport, and the requirement to report to the Bielefeld police station twice a week

Sentence by the Essen Regional Court for embezzlement in the amount of €487,500 (27 out of 950 total flights for which invoices had been checked and approved by the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, and Thomas Middelhoff had privately paid for over 450 flights worth €2,400,000, in addition to a commemorative publication for Dr. Mark Wössner which 1/3 was paid privately by Thomas Middelhoff) and VAT evasion in 3 cases in the amount of €26,500 (the VAT on the commemorative publication for Dr. Mark Wössner) with a 3-year prison sentence. Due to the risk of absconding, immediately after announcing the verdict, the courtroom arrests and transfers to pre-trial detention (JVA Essen) with an ordered 15-minute suicide check, which was monitored over a 5-week period. The sleep deprivation associated with this leads to an incurable autoimmune disease. The verdict and the circumstances of the imprisonment remain controversial in legal circles to this day

Chairman and Founding Partner
Pulse Capital Partners LLC

Chairman and Founding Partner
BLM Partners London, UK

Chairman of the Management
Board Arcandor AG, Essen
(until 06/2007, KarstadtQuelle AG)


Head of Europe for Corporate Investment
Investcorp International Ltd., London, UK

Bertelsmann AG (see below)

Bertelsmann AG


Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann AG, Guetersloh

Member of the Executive Board of Bertelsmann AG
Head of Corporate Development and Coordinator of     
Bertelsmann's multimedia business, Head of IT worldwide

Mohndruck (Chairman of the Managing Board)

Industry Division of Bertelsmann AG (Member of the Board)

Mohndruck GmbH and Calender Publishing Company (President)

Elsnerdruck GmbH (President)

Mohndruck Graphische Betriebe GmbH (Managing Assistant)

Supervisory Board Seats

Senator Entertainment AG, Berlin (Member)

(Chairman until August 2011)


3W Power SA, Zwanenburg, The Netherlands (Member)

Marseille-Kliniken AG, Berlin

The New York Times Company, New York, USA (Member)

Germany1 Acquisition Ltd., Guernsey (Co-Chairman) Ltd., London, UK (Chairman)

Thomas Cook Group plc, London, UK (Chairman)

Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH, Essen (Chairman)

The Polestar Group Ltd, Buckinghamshire, UK (Chairman)

Quelle GmbH, Fuerth (Chairman) GmbH, Frankfurt (Chairman)

Apcoa Parking AG, Stuttgart (Chairman)

The Polestar Group Ltd., Buckinghamshire, UK

KarstadtQuelle AG, Essen (Chairman)

Investcorp International Ltd., London, UK

Avecia Holdings plc, Manchester, UK

RTL Group S.A., Luxembourg (Deputy Chairman)
(traded in Brussels, London, Luxembourg)

Member of the Board of Trustees, Bertelsmann Foundation,

Vivendi S.A., Paris, France

Gruner + Jahr AG & Co., Hamburg

Metro AG, Cologne, New York, USA

America Online, Inc., Dulles, USA

Other Memberships


Member of the Global Advisory Board of the Oxford University Center for Corporate Reputation, Oxford, UK

Member of the Advisory Council of the University of Muenster,

Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Institute of
Corporate Governance of the University Witten/Herdecke, Witten

Member of the Advisory Board of NRW.Bank, Duesseldorf

Member of the Naturallianz (a consortium of representatives from
politics, NGOs, business, media, science and culture that engages in
the sustainable utilization of the biological diversity around the world),

Member of the Advisory Board of BHF-Bank, Frankfurt

Member of the VW Marketing Advisory Board, Wolfsburg

Member of the Supervisory Board Olympia "Bid Committee
Leipzig 2012”

Member of the Economic Advisory Board of RWE AG, Essen

Member of the Fitch Ratings Advisory Board, Paris, France

Member of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT),
Brussels, Belgium

Member of the Board: Scientific Society for Marketing
and Business Management, e. V., Muenster
(Scientific Society for Marketing and Corporate Management)

Co-Founder Global Business Dialogue for E-Commerce (jointly
with Steve Case, Lou Gerstner, Michio Naruto and other leading
business executives)

Founding Member: Society of Friends of the Academy of Arts, Berlin
(Association of Friends of The Academy of Arts)

Partner, BVG - Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft, Guetersloh
(Company Controls the voting right of Bertelsmann AG)


Role Model Award ("Bayreuther Vorbildspreis") of the University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth

Steven J. Ross Humanitarian Achievement Award of the UJA-Federation of New York, New York, USA

Vernon A. Walters Award of Atlantik-Bruecke e.V. and Armonk Institute (New York), New York, USA

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