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Thomas Hesse (Born 1966, Brussels) is President of Corporate Development and New Businesses as well as Member of the Executive Board of Bertelsmann. He was previously Sony Music Entertainment's President of Global Digital Business, US Sales, and Corporate Strategy. He is based in Berlin.
Hesse holds a BA and MA from Oxford University, an MSc from the London School of Economics and a Doctorate in Corporate Finance from the University of St. Gallen. He studied as a concert pianist at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Hochschule für Musik in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Hesse rejoined Bertelsmann in February 2012 from Sony Music, where he had been appointed to the position of President in charge of Global Digital Business for the combined company upon the completion of the merger of Sony Music and BMG in 2004 (in 2008, Sony acquired Bertelsmann's stake and renamed the company from Sony BMG to Sony Music). In that role, he was responsible for Sony Music's worldwide revenues from digital exploitation via online and mobile media, as well as for New Technology and Digital Business Development. Since the beginning of 2007, Hesse was also put in charge of the company's physical sales activities in the US, including CDs and DVDs. He is also responsible for Corporate Strategy.
Hesse joined BMG in New York to serve as Chief Strategic Officer in 2002. In that role he was driving BMG's merger with Sony Music and was also responsible for Digital Business Development and New Technology. Prior to joining BMG, Hesse was Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Strategy at Bertelsmann, and previously held a number of executive positions at the company's television division RTL Group. At RTL, Hesse was Secretary General of RTL Television, Germany, in charge of Program Acquisition and Distribution, and CEO of RTL NEW MEDIA. Hesse began his career in media and entertainment as a corporate consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on Media and Corporate Finance.
In his new position at Bertelsmann, he now oversees the company's worldwide corporate and digital development, as well as its music rights division BMG Rights Management and its venture capital arms, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.
Hesse is a member of the Board of Directors of RTL Group, Luxembourg, Europe's largest TV broadcasting company. He is a member of the Supervisory Board of Gruner+Jahr, Europe's largest magazine publisher and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Arvato.
Copy protection rootkit scandal
In 2005, asked about the Sony BMG Copy protection rootkit, Hesse's declaration to reporter Neda Ulaby: "Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?" became famous and added prominence to the case to reporters and the general public.
- "17 March 2003 - New management structure at". RTL Group. 2003-03-17. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Thomas Hesse Adds Responsibility For U.S. Sales To Existing Role as President, Global Digital Business, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
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