Axel Springer fires Bild editor Julian Reichelt after damning press reports


“Axel Springer SE has relieved Bild editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt of his duties with immediate effect,” the company said in a statement. “As a result of press inquiries, the company has gained new knowledge in recent days” about its “recent conduct”.

The publisher employs more than 16,000 people worldwide and is aggressively expanding into new markets, including the United States. He commissioned a law firm to investigate Reichelt’s conduct earlier this year, but reinstated him after determining he had not committed any dismissal offenses.

Now, however, Axel Springer says that “new evidence of Julian Reichelt’s current misconduct has come to the attention of the company in recent days.” Eric F. Phillips, senior vice president of public relations firm Edelman, and spokesperson for Axel Springer, declined to give details of the misconduct in response to a CNN investigation.

“As the board of directors learned,” the statement from Axel Springer read, “Julian Reichelt still fails to maintain a clear line between private and professional affairs and also lied to the board of administration in this regard. The Board therefore considers the termination of its office to be inevitable. “

Bild is Europe’s largest daily and the jewel of the publisher. But Axel Springer has sought to expand its digital presence in recent years, particularly in the United States, through the acquisition of Business Insider – now called Insider – and newsletter producer Morning Brew. Its $ 1 billion buyout of Politico is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2021.
In 2019, US private equity giant KKR privatized Axel Springer in a deal valuing the publisher at € 6.8 billion ($ 7.2 billion).

The focus is now on workplace culture in its flagship publication in Germany.

The New York Times ran an article on Sunday about Reichelt’s alleged abuse of power with female employees. Among the allegations, Reichelt was in a relationship with a junior employee, whom he promoted beyond what she deemed appropriate, and “continued to summon her to hotel rooms,” the Times reported, citing a transcript of the woman’s testimony. to the law firm conducting the investigation.

CNN cannot independently verify the Times information and has contacted Reichelt for comment.

As a result of that internal investigation earlier this year, Reichelt admitted errors, according to a statement reported by Reuters. “I know I have made mistakes in my behavior towards my colleagues and I cannot and will not gloss over it,” Reichelt said in March, according to Reuters. “The main thing I blame myself for is hurting people for whom I’m responsible. I’m so sorry.”

In Monday’s statement, Axel Springer said that “the compliance investigation against Julian Reichelt never included allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault.”

“There have, however, been allegations of consensual intimate relations with Bild employees and indications of abuse of power in this regard. A past relationship with a Bild employee has been proven and admitted. It remains disputed whether this employee has benefited in her career as a result. “

CNN does not know the identity of this employee.

The statement said after the investigation conducted earlier this year, the Council determined that Reichelt “had made mistakes,[but] these were not errors of an unforgivable nature. “

She had decided at the time that “the errors which would have justified an immediate separation were not proven”, and had decided to give him a “second chance”.

The company said it is also taking legal action against “third parties” who allegedly disclosed confidential transcripts, “trade secrets and private communications”. The company’s statement did not specify against whom the lawsuits were directed.

They acted, according to the statement, “to influence and instrumentalize the Spring Compliance Investigation by illegal means, obviously with the aim of removing Julian Reichelt from office and harming Bild and Axel Springer”.

– Inke Kappele contributed reporting from Berlin.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.