Thomas Hesse

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Thomas Hesse is a senior media and digital media executive and entrepreneur. He currently is the CEO of Paddle8 Auctionata, also a Senior Adviser to CVC Capital Partners and Founder of Consonance Investments LLC, an angel/ VC fund. He was previously President of Corporate Development and New Businesses as well as Member of the Executive Board of Bertelsmann, and before that Sony Music Entertainment's President of Global Digital Business & US Sales.


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.[1] He studied as a concert pianist at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Hochschule für Musik in Düsseldorf, Germany.[2]


Paddle8 Auctionata is the world's largest online auction house for art and luxury collectibles that was formed in the summer 2016 by combining the assets of New York-based Paddle8 and Berlin, Germany- based Auctionata. Hesse was appointed as the company's CEO on September 1, 2016 [8].

Since January 2014, Hesse is founder and CEO of the New York-based Consonance Investments LLC for venture investments with a focus on digital video and music startup companies.

Since June 2014 he has been a Senior Adviser to CVC Capital Partners.

In his position as President and Chief Digital Officer at Bertelsmann, which he took up in February 2012,[3][4] Hesse oversaw 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. He was also responsible for the M&A team and the company's engagement in education venture fund University Ventures. His board memberships included the Board of Directors of RTL Group, Luxembourg, Europe's largest TV broadcasting company; Penguin Random House, the world's largest book publisher; the Supervisory Board of Gruner+Jahr, Europe's largest magazine publisher; and Arvato, a large Business Process Outsourcing company. Hesse left Bertelsmann as of the end of 2013 to pursue new opportunities.[5][6][7]

Hesse was previously President of Sony Music in charge of Global Digital Business and US Sales, as well as Corporate Strategy.[8][9] 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. He oversaw the massive growth of digital music at Sony Music and was directly responsible for all US and global digital and physical partner relations. He also led Sony Music's digital direct-to-consumer efforts and was as co-founder of VEVO, the digital music channel, together with Universal Music and Abu Dhabi Media Company.[10]

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. In particular, Hesse was CEO of RTL NEW MEDIA, a subsidiary of RTL Television, Germany, and previously, as Secretary General of RTL Television Germany, in charge of Program Acquisition and Distribution. Hesse began his career in media and entertainment as a corporate consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on Media and Corporate Finance.

Copy protection rootkit scandal[edit]

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.[11]


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