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29.09.2003 – 14:32

Gruner + Jahr GmbH

Generational Shift And Restructuring On Gruner + Jahr Executive Board in 2004

    Hamburg, Germany (ots)

    As part of a generational shift that has been planned for a long time, G+J's Executive Board will see some changes in major divisions up to the end of 2004.

    Dr. Bernd Buchholz, 41, Managing Director of the STERN/GEO group, and Dr. Torsten-Joern Klein, 39, Managing Director of Berliner Verlag until August 31, 2003, have been appointed to the Executive Board effective January 1, 2004. Buchholz will be in charge of G+J's German Magazines division, while Klein will be responsible for the international magazine business, with the exception of France and the U.S. Furthermore, effective October 1, 2003, Achim Twardy, 43, will take on responsibility for G+J's business press in Germany as well as for coordinating G+J's international business press in addition to the newspaper business.

    Gruner + Jahr CEO Dr. Bernd Kundrun: "I warmly welcome Torsten-Joern Klein and Bernd Buchholz to the Executive Board, two new colleagues who already enjoy a reputation as expert publishing executives, and whose dedication to G+J thus far proves they are very well prepared for their future responsibilities."

    On January 1, 2004, Dr. Torsten-Joern Klein will take on some of the tasks currently handled by Axel Ganz, who has supervised G+J's entire international magazine business until now. Klein will take on responsibility for all G+J's international magazine operations with the exception of France and the U.S. Currently, this covers the local units in southern and eastern Europe, The Netherlands, Austria and Asia. By grouping these regions under a separate directorship, G+J underscores the importance of these growth markets to its future corporate development. Axel Ganz will continue to be in charge of France and the U.S. on the Executive Board.

    Since 1978, in addition to being CEO of Prisma Presse in France, Axel Ganz has helped to build and expand G+J's international magazines division. The company's international expansion - initially to Spain and the U.S., followed by market entry one year later in Italy, then in Poland, Russia and China - began during the same year in which Prisma Presse was being successfully developed into one of France's leading magazine publishers. In this way, G+J was able to rapidly evolve into the world's most internationally powerful magazine publisher; today, international revenues account for 60 % of total turnover. Axel Ganz completes this successful track record by gradually handing over his responsibilities.

    Also effective January 1, 2004, Dr. Bernd Buchholz will take on responsibility for the German Magazines division on the Executive Board, with the exception of the business magazines which for strategic reasons will be subsumed with the FTD into Achim Twardy's sphere of responsibility.

    Rolf Wickmann, longtime head of the German Magazines division, is resigning as member of G+J's Board and will withdraw from the operational side of business effective December 31, 2003. From that point on until March 31, 2008, he is to be contractually in charge of supervising holdings and strategic projects as non-operative director for Gruner + Jahr AG & Co KG. In addition to assisting the Executive Board on key topics, Wickmann will continue to represent G+J on the Advisory Board and at the Annual General Meeting of the Vereinigte Motor Verlage GmbH in Stuttgart (both of which he currently chairs), head the Advisory Board of the Henri-Nannen School for Journalists and, together with the CEO, represent Gruner + Jahr at SPIEGEL's Annual General Meeting. Beyond this, Wickmann will be free to pursue entrepreneurial activities of his own.

    Rolf Wickmann has headed the German Magazines division for 20 years, including the sales division for many years. He is one of Germany's most experienced publishing executives: The continual expansion of G+J's domestic portfolio in the 1980s and 90s as well as the launch of the latest innovation offensive would have been inconceivable without his experience and achievements. At the time he took office, G+J published 17 titles; today, G+J's palette of German magazines has more than doubled to over 37 magazines. Under Wickmann, Gruner + Jahr has become the ad sales market leader among consumer magazines, successfully defending its competitive position among major publishers each year since. In 2000, he began actively preparing for a generational shift in the management of the German Magazines division and has given many young executives opportunities to take on new managerial tasks in the publishing and editorial fields.

    Dr. Bernd Kundrun: "Rolf Wickmann deserves the greatest respect for his twenty years of successful work as head of the German Magazines division and as a longtime member of the Executive Board. He has been instrumental in shaping Gruner + Jahr and has systematically prepared the generational changeover. I am pleased that Rolf will lend his advice and support to me and my colleagues at G+J for the next four and a half years."

    On October 1, 2003, parallel to his responsibility for the newspaper business, Achim Twardy will take charge of G+J's business press operations in Germany and the coordination of all G+J's business magazines worldwide; their operational management will, however, remain in the hands of the local units. Twardy's management contract was also extended by another five years. In Germany, G+J's business press activities comprise the titles CAPITAL, IMPULSE, BOERSE ONLINE and FINANCIAL TIMES DEUTSCHLAND. These activities are being bundled in order to meet the intense competition in the sector. Internationally, G+J publishes CAPITAL in France, Europe's highest- circulation business magazine. Other important titles include MANAGEMENT in France, CAPITAL in Spain, and INC. and FAST COMPANY in the U.S. All of these find themselves faced by increasing competition from globally active media companies, some of them specializing in business publications. This calls for a coordinated strategy on the part of G+J.

    Martin Stahel, 59, will fulfill his contract as planned and remain on the Executive Board through December 31, 2004. After that date, the CEO himself will be in charge of the Corporate Development division. No replacement is planned for this directorship.

    Current CVs and pictures can be found on our website www.guj.com.

ots Original Text Service: Gruner + Jahr AG & Co KG Internet: http://www.presseportal.de

Contact: Thomas Huber Head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Gruner + Jahr AG & Co KG Am Baumwall 11 20459 Hamburg Tel.:  +49 (0)40 / 3703-3113 Fax:    +49 (0)40 / 3703-5617 E-Mail: huber.thomas@guj.de

Original content of: Gruner + Jahr GmbH, transmitted by news aktuell

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