Thomas Coesfeld to Succeed Hartwig Masuch – Billboard
BMG has announced a long-term succession plan for Hartwig Masuch, the record label and publisher’s only CEO since launching in 2008. Parent company Bertelsmann said Monday (Jan. 30) that Masuch will be replaced by Thomas Coesfeld, BMG’s CFO, effective Jan. 1, 2024.
When he takes over as chief executive, Coesfeld will also receive a seat on the Bertelsmann Group Management Committee (GMC), which advises the Group Executive Board. Masuch will remain in an advisory role after the transition, which will be “finalized at the end of the year,” said Bertelsmann chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe.
Under Masuch’s leadership, BMG has grown to be the fourth-biggest recorded music and publishing company in terms of revenue, trailing only the three majors. At a gathering of senior Bertelsmann execs in early October, Masuch announced BMG would be generating one billion euros in revenue starting in 2024. In the first half of 2022, the most recent final figures available, the company reported revenues grew 25% to 371 million euros ($405.7 million), compared to 2021’s first half.
In recent years, BMG has acquired music rights from Peter Frampton, Harry Nilsson, Simple Minds, Tina Turner and Mötley Crüe, among others, and through a partnership with KKR the company has acquired catalogs from John Legend and ZZ Top. On the label side, BMG has signed Duran Duran, Santana, Bryan Adams, Maxwell and Louis Tomlinson.
BMG has also moved into the live business, first by acquiring a majority stake in German live music promoter Undercover GmbH in 2020 and later with a similar alliance with KARO Konzert-Agentur Rothenburg GmbH, the organizer of the German Taubertal-Festival. Last September, the company signed a two-year deal to oversee Berlin’s historic 1,600-capacity Theater des Westens.
“Since 2008, [Masuch] has built the new BMG from scratch with a completely new business model that focuses on the needs of artists and songwriters, based on its core values of service, fairness, and transparency,” said Rabe.
Masuch joined Bertelsmann in 1991, overseeing Germany, Switzerland and Austria as part of BMG Music Publishing first incarnation. In 2008, he advised Bertelsmann when the company sold its share of Sony BMG Music Entertainment to Sony in 2008, and soon, helped start BMG Rights Management — which later became BMG.
“After 32 years at Bertelsmann and more than 14 years at BMG, now is the right time for me to hand over the reins to a new generation,” Masuch said in the company’s announcement. “I am convinced that the company will be in the best hands with Thomas Coesfeld and BMG’s outstanding, highly motivated global leadership team. As our annual results will show, the company is in excellent shape both creatively and financially. I look forward to a seamless transition by the end of the year. I am sure that under Thomas’ leadership, BMG’s core values of service, fairness and transparency will continue to evolve and flourish, leading the company to even greater success.”
Coesfeld was named deputy chief financial officer at BMG in October 2021 before taking over as CFO in April 2021. He previously served as chief strategy officer on the executive committee of the Bertelsmann Printing Group, a division of BMG’s parent company Bertelsmann. He began his career in 2014 as a management consultant at McKinsey in Munich.
“I am sure that under Thomas’ leadership, BMG’s core values of service, fairness and transparency will continue to evolve and flourish, leading the company to even greater success,” said Masuch.
Added Coesfeld, “Under Hartwig Masuch’s leadership, BMG has delivered an impressive growth story and developed into a modern music company in which data, technology, and services play a key role. My aim is to continue this success story together with the company’s top management and its more than 1,000 employees worldwide, and to leverage the enormous creative and entrepreneurial potential of the music industry for Bertelsmann.”