Bertelsmann chief Thielen takes top Cannes media prize

LONDON - Gunter Thielin, the chairman and chief executive of Five's parent company Bertelsmann, will be awarded with the Media Person of the Year award at this year's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

The award, which honours a prominent personality from the worldwide media industry, will be given in recognition of Thielen's leadership of the international media corporation, which includes television, books, music and magazines among its media interests.

Terry Savage, executive chairman of the Cannes Lions Festival, said: "[Gunter] as head of Bertelsmann, has shown so impressively how business excellence can go hand in hand with social responsibility. By reviving the media company's decentralised corporate culture of partnership, he unleashed enormous creative potential and set the scene for innovation and growth."

Under Thielen's stewardship, Bertelsmann has significantly increased its profitability, recording ‚ā¨18bn of revenue last year.

The company was founded in 1835 and is one of Germany's most successful companies, with operations in 63 countries and with more than 88,000 employees worldwide.

Thielen said: "I feel deeply honoured to receive this prestigious award, and accept it on behalf all the talented entrepreneurs who have made possible Bertelsmann's global success. They are the ones who truly deserve this award."

After holding various positions at audio products manufacturer BASF, Thielen joined Bertelsmann more than 25 years ago.

He started his management career as chief executive of the Nuremberg-based Maul-Belser printing company, becoming a member of the Bertelsmann executive board in 1985, where he took responsibility for the printing and manufacturing division, now named Arvato.

Thielen was promoted to the position of chairman and chief executive of the group in 2002.

He oversaw the merger of BMG and Sony Music Entertainment's into Sony BMG and publisher Gruner+Jahr's purchase of the majority stake in the Hungarian Motorpresse publishing group along with the fundamental strengthening of Bertelsmann's TV business with its investment in Five.

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