The man on the left is Hartmut Ostrowski, head of the printing company Arvato and the current front-runner for the plum position of being the CEO of Bertelsmann (the parent company of Arvato, BMG and Random House.) The New York Times reports that the announcement is “days away”, a choice expected to be made after a meeting this week of a four-member supervisory board personnel committee. As the only family member on that committee, Liz Mohn, the wife of Bertelsmann’s 85-year-old patriarch, Reinhard Mohn, will play a decisive role in the handover of power.
If this proves to be the case (another possible candidate is Ewald Walgenbach, the chief executive of Bertelsmann’s book club business, Direct Group)Ostrowski will be the company’s first CEO since Thomas Middelhoff was ousted in 2002 after an unsuccessful attempt to take the company public. And whoever gets the top job has all manner of fun tasks managing a $10 billion dollar debt and the influence of the Mohn family, who wield considerable power on Bertelsmann’s board.