Bertelsmann, the multimedia giant, became the latest in the industry to change its senior leadership, ousting chief executive Thomas Middelhoff. The company said Middelhoff was leaving because of "differing views" with the board of directors over "future strategy." He was replaced by Gunter Thielen, head of Bertelsmann's media services division. AOL Time Warner and France's Vivendi also have replaced their chairmen or chief operating officers this month. Among other properties, Gutersloh, Germany-based Bertelsmann owns RTL, Europe's largest TV broadcaster; Random House publishers; the BMG, RCA, Arista, and Zomba recording labels; the online music-swapping service Napster; and YM and Family Circle magazines.
Qwest Communications International will restate its 1999-2001 revenues after an internal review found $1.1 billion in accounting improprieties, the company said. It withdrew its financial forecasts for 2002. The restatement is likely to take months, new chief executive Richard Notebaert said, and would not be ready by the Aug. 14 deadline set by the Securities and Exchange Commission for large corporations to certify their financial reports amid a string of accounting scandals. Denver-based Qwest, a leading long-distance provider in 14 states, already is under investigation by the SEC and the Justice Department.
Ziff Davis Media is likely to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by the end of the week, The New York Times reported, in a prepackaged proceeding that would give bondholders new equity through bonds, cash, and a stake in the reorganized company. The New York-based technology magazine publisher is $450 million in debt and has been working to restructure its finances.
Tommy Hilfiger Corp. announced the resignation of co-chairman Lawrence Stroll after the casual-wear designer/ retailer posted a $439 million loss in the first quarter. The loss was due to a write-down on the value of trademarks and other assets, the Hong Kong-based company said. Otherwise, it earned $2.6 million, with revenues up 3 percent from the same period last year.