Media & Telecom

Germany's Axel Springer fires top Bild editor after media report

2 minute read

A worker carries printed editions of Bild newspaper that show candidates for chancellor Olaf Scholz, of Social Democratic Party (SPD), and Armin Laschet, of Christian Democratic Union (CDU), after the first exit polls for the general elections in Berlin, Germany, September 26, 2021. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

FRANKFURT, Oct 18 (Reuters) - The media company Axel Springer (SPRGn.S) said on Monday that it would dismiss Julian Reichelt, the editor-in-chief of Germany's top-selling Bild newspaper, with immediate effect.

Reichelt was on temporary leave earlier this year after admitting having affairs with women on the staff but being cleared of wrongdoing by a compliance investigation into abuse of power. read more

Axel Springer, which bought Politico in August, said it had "gained new insights" about Reichelt's behaviour in the wake of recent press research.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

"The management board learned that Julian Reichelt had not clearly separated private and professional matters even after the compliance proceedings were concluded in the spring" and that he had not been forthcoming about the truth, the company said in a statement.

Reichelt did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Axel Springer chief executive Mathias Doepfner praised Reichelt's achievements in journalism but said that it was impossible to keep him on.

The dismissal comes a day after The New York Times published a column including details of Reichelt's affairs.

An investigative report into alleged abuses of power at Axel Springer by Germany's Ippen publishing group was also in the works but pulled before publication.

Ippen said on Monday that it had wanted to avoid the impression that it was trying to do financial damage to one of its competitors.

In a letter seen by Reuters, Ippen's investigative team, whose research delved into allegations of harassment of women at Axel Springer, especially by Reichelt, expressed shock that their article set to appear on Sunday was not published.

According to the letter by the four Ippen journalists addressed to the head of the publishing group and first cited by The New York Times column, Axel Springer representatives had been in contact with Ippen.

Ippen said it had not been influenced by Axel Springer in its decision to kill the piece.

Axel Springer said it aimed for transparency and in principle did not take issue with critical reporting. It said, as far as it was aware, nobody at the company had attempted to stop the article's publication.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to
Reporting by Tom Sims, Klaus Lauer and Miranda Murray; editing by David Evans and Giles Elgood

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

More from Reuters