Upon application of GfK SE, the Register Court of Nuremberg has appointed Thomas Ebeling, CEO of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, Johannes P. Huth, Head of KKR's operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and Philipp Freise, Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications of Europe at KKR & Co. L.P., as members of the Supervisory Board, effective April 7, 2017. They succeed Peter Goldschmidt, Aliza Knox and Bruno Piacenza who have resigned from their posts as of March 31, 2017.
The application was submitted by the Management Board of GfK SE and supported by the Supervisory Board. This step followed the completion of the takeover offer from Acceleratio Capital N.V. which aims at supporting the long-term growth strategy of GfK. The takeover offer was completed on March 13. KKR thus has assumed three seats in the Supervisory Board of GfK SE. This partial new composition of the Supervisory Board sought by KKR and GfK Verein has been supported by the Supervisory Board and the Management Board throughout the process. It does not change the previous setup of GfK’s Supervisory Board with six shareholder and four employee representatives.
“The outgoing Supervisory Board members welcome the partial new composition of the Supervisory Board sought by KKR and GfK Verein. Accordingly, they have offered to vacate their respective seats in an extraordinarily unselfish manner from the onset. Therefore, also on behalf of the other Supervisory Board members, I sincerely thank them for their outstanding efforts, great engagement and competent support of GfK. Peter Goldschmidt, Aliza Knox and Bruno Piacenza have done an excellent job for GfK, actively supporting the company’s digital transformation with their passion and diverse experience from different industries. We are delighted to have worked with them over the past years and are very grateful for their valuable contributions to the development of GfK,” said Ralf Klein-Bölting, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of GfK SE.
“I equally look forward to working in the new team setup, as the new members bring significant experience and exceptional competency to the Supervisory Board. Their knowledge and capabilities will be instrumental in helping to successfully reposition GfK and realize future growth potential,” Klein-Bölting added.
The new Supervisory Board members Thomas Ebeling, Johannes P. Huth and Philipp Freise have been appointed by the Register Court of Nuremberg until GfK SE’s next General Assembly. The date for the General Assembly is yet to be announced. The Assembly will then resolve upon their election for a longer term.
Details about the new members of the Supervisory Board
Thomas Ebeling (58) joined ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE as CEO in 2009. Under his leadership, the Group developed into one of the most successful independent European media companies. Since March 2016, it has been listed in the DAX. Before joining ProSiebenSat.1, Thomas Ebeling worked at Novartis, where from 2000 to 2007 he was CEO of the global pharmaceuticals business, which more than doubled sales under his leadership. In 2007, he became CEO of Novartis’ Consumer Health Division. Thomas Ebeling is a member of the Supervisory Board of Bayer AG.
Johannes P. Huth (56) has been with KKR since 1999 and is Head of the operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He draws on profound expertise in the media sector gained amongst other things as former Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ProSiebenSat.1 in a time when the company was transformed into one of the leading media companies in Europe. Johannes Huth was also Chairman of the Supervisory Boards of WMF Group, Kion Group, and MTU Aero Engines. His current Board memberships include among others Hensoldt, GEG German Estate Group, Software One, and Cognita.
Philipp Freise (43) joined KKR in 2001 and is Head of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Industry team for KKR’s Private Equity platform in Europe. He gained extensive experience in the digital and technology space having led amongst other things KKR’s investments in Arago, Fotolia, Scout24 Switzerland and Trainline. Furthermore, Philipp Freise has comprehensive industry expertise in the media sector through KKR’s investments in ProSiebenSat.1, BMG Rights Management and SBS Broadcasting, where he also served on the Boards, in the case of ProSiebenSat.1 as Deputy Chairman. Currently, Mr. Freise is among others a member of the Boards of Arago and Trainline.
Details about the outgoing members of the Supervisory Board
Aliza Knox joined the Supervisory Board of GfK in April 2014 and has significantly strengthened it with her expertise for digital business models and the Asian market. She currently is Vice President Asia Pacific at Twitter and has more than 30 years of experience in various international management functions at Google and Visa International, amongst others.
Bruno Piacenza was nominated for GfK’s Supervisory Board in April 2016. He is member of the Management Board and Executive Vice President Laundry & Home Care at Henkel, where he has made a remarkable international career in various leading roles and gained extensive experience in the consumer goods industry.
Peter Goldschmidt was appointed in December 2016 and has enriched GfK’s Supervisory Board with his vast experience from his international management career in the pharmaceutical industry. As President, Sandoz Inc., and Head North America, Goldschmidt has been responsible for the North American operations of the pharmaceutical company Sandoz since 2013.
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