Liz Mohn

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Liz Mohn
Liz Mohn 2017.jpg
Elisabeth Beckmann

(1941-06-21) 21 June 1941 (age 77)
ResidenceGütersloh, Germany
Known forNeue Stimmen International Singing Competition
Net worth$5.0 billion (June 2018)[1]
Spouse(s)Reinhard Mohn (deceased)

Elisabeth Mohn (nee Beckmann, born 21 June 1941)[2] is a German billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist.[3][4]

Mohn, who was married to Reinhard Mohn until his death in 2009,[5] represents the fifth generation of the family that founded and continues to play a leading role at the Bertelsmann media group.[6][7][8] She is chairwoman of the shareholders' meeting and of the steering committee of Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft,[8] where she serves as family spokesperson.[9] She is also a member of the governance bodies at Bertelsmann.[10] In addition, she serves as the vice-chairwoman of Bertelsmann Stiftung's executive board and its board of trustees.[11][12]

Mohn has been recognized with numerous awards for her extensive civic engagement, among them the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.[13][14]


After completing her schooling, Mohn began an apprenticeship as a dental hygienist. She later applied to become a telephone operator at Bertelsmann and subsequently worked for the company's book club. At the age of 17 she met Reinhard Mohn.[15] In 1963, she married the editor Joachim Scholz;[16][17] the couple separated in 1978.[18] In 1982, Reinhard Mohn's first marriage ended in divorce.[19][20] Liz and Reinhard Mohn married the same year.[21] He adopted their biological children Brigitte Mohn, Christoph Mohn [de] and Andreas Mohn [de].[22]

Liz Mohn, Reinhard Mohn and Michail Gorbatschow (1992)

In the following years, Liz Mohn gradually began playing a greater role at the company and foundation:[23] In 1986, she joined the Bertelsmann Stiftung's advisory council.[24] In 1999, she was asked to become a member of the shareholders' meeting of Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft,[25] which controls the voting rights at the media group's annual general meeting.[26] In 2000, she also joined the executive committee of the Bertelsmann Stiftung;[27] the foundation indirectly holds a majority of shares in the Bertelsmann group.[28] In 2002, Mohn advanced to the top position at Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft,[29] where she also became the family spokesperson; in addition, she joined the supervisory board at Bertelsmann.[30] With that, she took on a leading role overseeing the company.[31]

Mohn became her husband's successor upon his death in 2009.[32] Among other rights, he had granted her a veto at Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft.[33][34] She was also awarded a majority of the founder's rights at the Bertelsmann Stiftung which allows her,[35][36] for example, to propose members for the board of trustees.[37]

As a result of her dual role at the company and the foundation, Mohn has received considerable media attention.[38] One reason for this is the assertion that the Bertelsmann Stiftung does not completely separate its nonprofit activities from the company's commercial interests.[39]


In 1987, Mohn launched the Neue Stimmen International Singing Competition.[40] She was inspired to do so by Herbert von Karajan,[41] who noted that too little was being done to promote new opera talent.[42] Organized by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the competition has since become an internationally recognized forum for discovering up-and-coming opera singers.[43][44][45] In addition, Mohn initiated a project in 1999 for promoting music appreciation and education among children, especially in primary schools.[46][47]

In 1992, she founded the nonprofit German Stroke Foundation [de],[48] which works to prevent and increase awareness of stroke.[49][50] She was motivated to do so by a medical condition affecting one of her sons which caused symptoms that resembled a stroke.[51][52] Mohn is president of the foundation and her daughter Brigitte serves as chairwoman of its board of trustees.[53] A key activity in this area is the Roseball, at which Mohn collects donations to be used for fighting the illness.[46][54]

In 2005, Mohn expanded her efforts to promote music appreciation and education by establishing the Liz Mohn Foundation for Culture and Music.[42] The foundation carries out numerous activities: staging musicals for children and young people, for example, and awarding scholarships to opera singers.[55][56] To achieve its goals, the foundation partners with the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden and other organizations.[57][58] It currently has an endowment of €16.2 million and Mohn serves as the chairwoman of its executive board.[59][60]

As vice-chairwoman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung executive board, Mohn is responsible for the programs Germany and Asia, Living Values, Discovering Music, and Business in Society, as well as the Competence Center for Leadership and Corporate Culture.[61] She is also president of the board of trustees of the Fundación Bertelsmann and is a member of the board of directors of the Bertelsmann Foundation North America.[62][63]

Awards and honors[edit]

Liz Mohn, becoming honorary citizen of Gütersloh, with mayor Henning Schulz and Wolfgang Schüssel (2016)

Liz Mohn has been recognized numerous times for her social engagement.[3] In 1996, she was awarded the European Philanthropy Prize [de], the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Charity Bambi.[64] In 1999, she was the first woman from Germany to become a full member of the Club of Rome.[65][66] In 2000, she received the German Medical Association's Badge of Honor.[67] In 2006, the University of Tel Aviv awarded her an honorary doctorate.[68][69] In 2008, she received UNESCO's Children in Need award.[70] In 2009, she was the first woman to be honored with the Karl Winnacker Prize [de],[71] and she received the Global Economy Prize [de] in 2010.[72] In 2013, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, France's ambassador to Germany, made her an officer of the French Legion of Honor.[73] In 2014, she received the Euriade Badge of Honor in Gold from Queen Silvia of Sweden.[74] In 2016, Xavier Bettel, prime minister of Luxemburg, awarded her the Commander's Cross of the Order of the Oak Crown.[75][76]

In 2016, the Gütersloh city council made Mohn honorary citizen of the city.[77][78]


  • Liz Mohn (2001). Liebe öffnet Herzen (in German). München: C. Bertelsmann Verlag. ISBN 3-570-00367-1.
  • Liz Mohn, ed. (2006). Werte: Was die Gesellschaft zusammenhält (in German). Gütersloh: Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung. ISBN 3-89204-908-4.
  • Liz Mohn, Ursula von der Leyen, eds. (2007). Familie gewinnt: Die Allianz und ihre Wirkungen für Unternehmen und Gesellschaft (in German). Gütersloh: Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung. ISBN 978-3-89204-927-2.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  • Liz Mohn, Karin Schlautmann, eds. (2010). Positionen: Unternehmenskultur und Werte (in German). Gütersloh: Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung. ISBN 978-3-86793-229-5.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  • Liz Mohn (2011). Schlüsselmomente: Erfahrungen eines engagierten Lebens (in German). München: C. Bertelsmann Verlag. ISBN 978-3-570-10110-0.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Elisabeth Mohn & family". Forbes. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Liz Mohn". Internationales Biographisches Archiv (in German). Munzinger. July 9, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Mit den Augen einer Mutter". Welt am Sonntag (in German). January 7, 2001. p. 30.
  4. ^ Matthias Benirschke (June 21, 2011). "Das Mädchen aus Rheda-Wiedenbrück". Bonner General-Anzeiger (in German). p. 2.
  5. ^ "Eine herausragende Persönlichkeit: Reinhard Mohn gestorben". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). October 4, 2009. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Bertelsmann Stiftung, ed. (2013). "Liz Mohn: Entscheidung für ein engagiertes Leben" (PDF) (in German). p. 6. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  7. ^ "Bertelsmann: Medienmonarchie aus Gütersloh". Handelsblatt (in German). January 30, 2011. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Holger Steltzner (June 17, 2016). "Bertelsmann: Liz Mohn bleibt an der Macht". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  9. ^ "Bertelsmann: Liz Mohn spricht weiter für die Familie". T-Online (in German). June 17, 2016. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  10. ^ "Mitglieder der Aufsichtsräte von Bertelsmann" (in German). Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  11. ^ Annette Becker (October 10, 2009). "Personen: Liz Mohn, die mächtige Frau in Gütersloh". Börsen-Zeitung (in German). p. 7.
  12. ^ Carsten Heil (March 14, 2017). "Unsere Wurzeln sind uns wichtig". Neue Westfälische (in German). p. 4.
  13. ^ Margaretha Kopeinig (October 1, 2009). "Eigentum verpflichtet". Kurier (in German). p. 8.
  14. ^ "Bertelsmann-Erbin Liz Mohn erhält Bundesverdienstorden". Bild (in German). July 1, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  15. ^ Hans-Peter Siebenhaar (April 19, 2012). "Liz Mohn: Von der Telefonistin zur Medien-Matriarchin". Handelsblatt (in German). p. 6.
  16. ^ Thomas Schuler (October 17, 2009). "Die Stimme ihres Herrn". Berliner Zeitung (in German). p. 3. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  17. ^ Matthew Karnitschnig (December 8, 2003). "Die komplizierte Romanze der Liz Mohn". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  18. ^ Matthias Benirschke (June 21, 2011). "Die starke Frau bei Bertelsmann". Westdeutsche Zeitung (in German).
  19. ^ Matthias Benirschke (June 21, 2011). "Die starke Frau bei Bertelsmann". Westdeutsche Zeitung (in German).
  20. ^ Magdalene Mohn, Minna Wagner (April 15, 2004). "Die Schattenfrau". Bunte (in German). p. 58.
  21. ^ Hans-Peter Siebenhaar (September 16, 2011). "Probier's mal. Du schaffst das!". Handelsblatt (in German). p. 77.
  22. ^ Günther Bähr, Tatjana Meier (December 8, 2003). "Bertelsmann: Szenen einer Ehe". Focus (in German). p. 188.
  23. ^ "Matriarchin, fest im Sattel des Imperiums". Wiener Zeitung (in German). June 21, 2011. p. 3.
  24. ^ "Zehn Jahre Bertelsmann Stiftung – Organe und Geschäftsstelle". Dritter Tätigkeitsbericht der Bertelsmann Stiftung 1985–1986 (in German). p. 127.
  25. ^ "Reinhard Mohn regelt Besitzverhältnisse neu". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). July 2, 1999. p. 19.
  26. ^ "Reinhard Mohn verzichtet auf seine Stimmrechte". Börsen-Zeitung (in German). July 2, 1999. p. 13.
  27. ^ "Bertelsmann Stiftung: Neue Organisation der Führungsstruktur". Frankfurter Rundschau (in German). September 30, 2000. p. 18.
  28. ^ "Bertelsmann gehört jetzt mehrheitlich der Stiftung". Deutscher Drucker (in German). October 14, 1993. p. 4.
  29. ^ Petra Schäfer, Simone Wermelskirchen (July 31, 2002). "Die starke Frau von Bertelsmann". Handelsblatt (in German). p. 22.
  30. ^ Burkhard Riering (July 30, 2002). "Liz Mohn greift nach der Macht bei Bertelsmann". Die Welt (in German). p. 1.
  31. ^ Lutz Meier (July 30, 2002). "Die Dame im Hintergrund". Financial Times Deutschland (in German). p. 2.
  32. ^ "Liz Mohn tritt die Nachfolge an". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). October 10, 2009. p. 29.
  33. ^ "Liz Mohn bekommt Vetorecht bei Bertelsmann". Handelsblatt (in German). October 9, 2009. p. 14.
  34. ^ "Liz Mohn übernimmt Vetorecht bei Bertelsmann". Berliner Zeitung (in German). October 9, 2009. p. 30.
  35. ^ Johannes Ritter (October 8, 2009). "Alle Macht für Liz Mohn". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  36. ^ "Bertelsmann: Medienmonarchie aus Gütersloh". Handelsblatt (in German). January 30, 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  37. ^ "Satzung der Bertelsmann Stiftung" (PDF) (in German). April 2, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  38. ^ "Konzerne: Mit Liz und Tücke". Der Spiegel (in German). August 16, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  39. ^ Harald Schumann (September 25, 2006). "Macht ohne Mandat". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  40. ^ "Musik gehört zu meinem Leben". Westfalen-Blatt (in German). March 13, 2013.
  41. ^ Bernhard Hertlein (November 28, 2012). "Die Idee hatte Herbert von Karajan". Westfalen-Blatt (in German).
  42. ^ a b Liz Mohn (2011). Schlüsselmomente: Erfahrungen eines engagierten Lebens (in German). München: C. Bertelsmann Verlag. pp. 69, 78. ISBN 978-3-641-07123-3.
  43. ^ "Talentschmiede der weltbesten Opernstimmen". Neue Westfälische (in German). October 5, 2008.
  44. ^ "Talentschmiede gewährt Blick hinter die Kulissen". Die Glocke (in German). September 29, 2016. p. 21.
  45. ^ Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.). "Neue Stimmen" (in German). Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  46. ^ a b Liz Mohn (October 17, 1999). "Lasst uns die Herzen der Menschen öffnen". Welt am Sonntag (in German). p. 105.
  47. ^ Annette Westhoff (September 19, 1999). "Liz Mohn will Kinder fordernd fördern". Welt am Sonntag (in German). p. 103.
  48. ^ Pete Smith (August 28, 2009). "Wirksame Strategien gegen den Schlaganfall". Ärzte Zeitung (in German). Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  49. ^ Klaus Ahrens, Hanno Pittner (January 1, 1999). "Not-Helferin". Manager Magazin (in German). p. 226.
  50. ^ "Stiftung setzt auf Prävention und Aufklärung". Frankfurter Neue Presse (in German). June 2, 1998. p. 4.
  51. ^ Liz Mohn (2010). Liebe öffnet Herzen. Goldmann Verlag (in German). München. p. 243. ISBN 3-570-00367-1.
  52. ^ "Schlaganfall-Stiftung hat in kurzer Zeit viel bewegt". Ärzte Zeitung (in German). May 10, 1999. p. 14.
  53. ^ Stiftung Deutsche Schlaganfall-Hilfe (ed.). "Jahresbericht 2016" (PDF) (in German). pp. 3, 7. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  54. ^ Annika Schönstädt (April 30, 2016). "Rosenball 2016: Der Promi-Tanz in den Mai". Berliner Morgenpost (in German). Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  55. ^ Martina Helmig (April 23, 2015). "Eintauchen in eine neue Welt". Berliner Morgenpost (in German). p. 2.
  56. ^ "Verrückte Reise durch die Zeit". Neue Westfälische (in German). March 24, 2017. p. 12.
  57. ^ "Seit an Seit mit Daniel Barenboim: Die neue Liz Mohn Kultur- und Musikstiftung fördert ein Internationales Opernstudio in Berlin". Neue Westfälische (in German). September 29, 2007.
  58. ^ "Internationales Opernstudio" (in German). Staatsoper Unter den Linden. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  59. ^ "Ideen für interkulturelle Musikprojekte gesucht". Gütersloher Zeitung (in German). July 14, 2017. p. 12.
  60. ^ Liz Mohn Kultur- und Musikstiftung (ed.). "Über die Stiftung" (in German). Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  61. ^ Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.). "Jahresabschluss 2016: Programme und Projekttätigkeiten" (PDF) (in German). pp. 14–31. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  62. ^ Carsten Heil (March 14, 2017). "Unsere Wurzeln sind uns wichtig". Neue Westfälische (in German). p. 4.
  63. ^ Bertelsmann Foundation North America (ed.). "Board of Directors". Archived from the original on February 6, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  64. ^ Ivette Wagner, Dietrich Nixdorf (January 16, 2008). "Das Schöne mit dem Guten verbinden". Sächsische Zeitung (in German). p. 8.
  65. ^ Regina Goldlücke (January 31, 1999). "Liz Mohn als erste deutsche Frau im Club of Rome". Welt am Sonntag (in German). p. 104.
  66. ^ Madlen Hillebrecht (March 7, 1999). "Liz Mohn: Eine Frau bezieht Position". Welt am Sonntag (in German). p. 48.
  67. ^ "Ehrenzeichen der Ärzte für Liz Mohn". Ärzte Zeitung (in German). March 13, 2000. p. 2.
  68. ^ Ludger Osterkamp (May 22, 2006). "Talar und Doktorhut für Liz Mohn". Neue Westfälische (in German).
  69. ^ Stefan Brams (March 3, 2006). "Gleichauf mit Reinhard Mohn: Die Universität Tel Aviv verleiht Liz Mohn die Ehrendoktorwürde". Neue Westfälische (in German).
  70. ^ Monika Salchert (September 13, 2008). "Starauflauf in der Domstadt". Rheinische Post (in German).
  71. ^ "Liz Mohn als erste Frau ausgezeichnet". Neue Westfälische (in German). July 31, 2009.
  72. ^ "Wirtschaftspreis geht an WTO-Chef und Liz Mohn". Die Welt (in German). May 22, 2010. p. 42.
  73. ^ "Französischer Orden für Liz Mohn". Handelsblatt (in German). December 10, 2013. p. 46.
  74. ^ "Einsatz für soziale Projekte". Neue Westfälische (in German). March 5, 2016. p. 14.
  75. ^ "Ehrung für eine Weltbürgerin". Neue Westfälische (in German). February 16, 2016. p. 11.
  76. ^ Le Gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (February 15, 2016). "Xavier Bettel verleiht Liz Mohn das Komturkreuz im Orden der Eichenlaubkrone des Großherzogtums Luxemburg" (in German). Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  77. ^ Stadt Gütersloh, ed. (June 3, 2016). "Liz Mohn wird Gütersloher Ehrenbürgerin" (in German). Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  78. ^ "Güterslohs erste Ehrenbürgerin". Neue Westfälische (in German). December 17, 2016. p. 11.

Further reading[edit]

  • Thomas Schuler (2004). Die Mohns: Vom Provinzbuchhändler zum Weltkonzern. Die Familie hinter Bertelsmann (in German). Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag. ISBN 3-593-37307-6.

External links[edit]