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Changes to be made to the leadership culture at BILD
2021-03-25 09:30 [Médiainfó - www.mediainfo.hu]

The report from the compliance investigation at Axel Springer SE, which looked into various complaints against Julian Reichelt, has now been presented.

The company's internal compliance management was mandated by the Executive Board, with the support of outside experts, to investigate and assess over a period of more than four weeks possible compliance violations on the part of the Chairman of BILD's editorial board. Based on what they learned during their investigations, the Executive Board of Axel Springer SE has decided that Julian Reichelt will continue his work, and the decision from March 12, 2021, at the request of Julian Reichelt to release him temporarily from his duties has been withdrawn with immediate effect.

At the same time, the editorial management at BILD is to undergo changes and will now be placed in the hands of a dual leadership team. Alexandra Würzbach, 52, currently Editor-in-Chief of BILD am SONNTAG and member of the BILD Group's editorial board, will be stepping in as Chairperson of BILD's editorial board, sharing equal rights and responsibility. Julian Reichelt will focus in future on BILD print and digital as well as BILD Live, while Alexandra Würzbach will be in charge of BILD am SONNTAG together with the cross-divisional personnel and editorial management. Alexandra Würzbach and Julian Reichelt will be jointly responsible for the content of all products of the BILD Group.

The core remit of the investigation was to examine accusations of abuse of power in connection with consensual relationships and drug consumption at the place of work. Contrary to rumors reported in several media titles, there were no accusations of sexual harassment, and the investigations did not discover any evidence whatsoever of sexual harassment or coercion. Julian Reichelt admitted the mixing of professional and private relationships, however he denied the aforementioned accusations, underscoring this in an affidavit.

The Executive Board came to the decision that there were no grounds to remove Julian Reichelt from his post as Editor-in-Chief based on the mistakes - which are not punishable by criminal law - made in the execution of his duties as an editorial and personnel manager. During the overall assessment, consideration was given to the enormous strategic and structural changes as well as the journalistic achievements that have taken place under the management of Julian Reichelt.

Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE commented, "In our search to find out the truth, we had to distinguish between rumors, indications and clear evidence. We had to make sure we didn't make any prejudgments, that we strictly separated the private from the professional, and that we respected the confidentiality requested by some of those who provided information. Following a thorough examination of all the details at our disposal, we are convinced that the right way to go is to allow Julian Reichelt to continue his work, sharing a dual leadership role with Alexandra Würzbach. He made mistakes. However, having assessed everything that was revealed as part of the investigation process, we consider a parting of the ways to be inappropriate. We would like to explicitly thank those people who helped us with the information they provided."

Mathias Döpfner continued by saying, "It is clear to us that, even if there is no need to take legal steps, there is a need for change in the management culture in BILD's editorial teams. We want to, indeed we must learn and become better from this experience. The Executive Board is convinced that there is no contradiction between modern, non-conformist tabloid journalism and a contemporary management culture. We are very happy to have Alexandra Würzbach on board, who will in future work on equal terms alongside Julian Reichelt running all editorial matters at BILD."

Julian Reichelt commented, "I am relieved and happy to be returning back to the newsroom. I am very touched by the solidarity and encouragement I have received in the past weeks, and very grateful for that. I know that I have made mistakes in my dealings with colleagues, and I do not want to play that down in any way. What I blame myself for more than anything else is that I have hurt people I was in charge of. I am very sorry for that. I cannot change the past, but I will use the chance I have been given to do everything in my power to work on an equal standing with Alexandra Würzbach, and work together with all of my colleagues as a team to create and exemplify a new corporate culture for BILD."


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