Thomas Middelhoff, Chairman and CEO of the Bertelsmann media empire since 1998, has exited his post due to "differences of opinion" with the Supervisory Board "about the future strategy of Bertelsmann AG and the cooperation between the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board".

Middelhoff's duties will be assumed by Guenter Thielen, who has been a member of the concern's Executive Board since 1985 and CEO of the corporate division Arvato. Bertelsmann's CFO Siegfried Luther will serve as Thielen's deputy.

Ahead of Bertelsmann's announcement of Middelhoff's exit, German newspapers reported that the 49-year-old Bertelsmann executive is apparently being lined up as the successor to Helmut Sihler and Gerd Tenzer who are currently temporary caretakers of the top spot at Deutsche Telekom following the departure of CEO Ron Sommer earlier this month. (ends)