The Story Of Thomas Middelhoff - From Heaven To Hell

Thomas Middelhoff

Thomas Middelhoff Story:


Hamburg Who is Thomas Middelhoff today?

The man who brought the Internet to Germany as head of Bertelsmann and failed at Karstadt-Quelle (Arcandor).

In Germany became a symbol of unsympathetic turbo-capitalism. 2014 was severely punished with several years imprisonment for infidelity and tax evasion and now wrote his second book, "Guilty - From Failure and Resurgence".

He introduced himself at a press conference, with a smile, as an "ex-manager, ex-detainee and tentative author".

However, anyone who wants to understand Middelhoff 2019 must talk about failure, writing and faith. In the "Schmökerstube" at the 25hours-Hotel, HafenCity in Hamburg, he first wants to talk about failure.

Thomas Middelhoff  Failure:



It's such a thing. A "taboo subject" is that, writes Middelhoff, so that often "stigmatization" is connected. 

On the other hand, it is a fashion theme. Anyone who wants to be considered a great, creative entrepreneur must have failed at least once.

On "Fuck-up nights" protagonists celebrate their part-time misfortune. Middelhoff noted at one of these events in Frankfurt that his previous speakers described failure as if it had fallen from the sky: 

"It's not me, but the others were to blame, it is often said. I was in prison, but I'm innocent. These were the lawyers. There is always a relativization of one's guilt. "

Middelhoff does not want to relativize anything anymore. That's why he wrote the book. It's a striptease on 287 pages, 

which certainly makes it special, according to the inner line: the more honest, the more self-therapeutic. 

The more radical, the liberating. He was in life "x times failed," says the author, about in the 10th grade has not been moved.

However, the trend of life development continued until he fell on many levels of life in November 2014, when he was arrested in the courtroom.

Economic (personal bankruptcy), social (offender), health (an autoimmune disease), family, overall in reputation. Middelhoff: "Nothing before made me startle.

I tried to push things aside and run away from myself through a disproportionate amount of work - since the early years at Bertelsmann. "

The 17 years in the Gütersloh media company have shaped him. The wife's allegations about the permanent workload he had fended off "with the great responsibility and the task that I have.

I was filled with activities. "That meant travelling, drivers, helicopters, private jets - a secluded world that includes a group's committees and conference bullshit.

Meticulously, almost academically, the devout Catholic Middelhoff explains in the "Guilty" book how he violated all the deadly sins of Catholic doctrine.

He should have tried to "stand by my values, even if that would have cost me a career step," he says: "The character traits decide you stay where you are.

Mine has developed in the wrong direction. That broke my neck. "That he failed morally in the House of Bertelsmann, which emphasizes ethics, is a special punch line. 

"Today, I see it as very critical when companies highlight their corporate culture," says Middelhoff. "There are often things that are not lived out. Often truths are bent. "

Which of the Catholic deadly sins have you most violated?

Against the inability to live right now. I surfed around the world and was not anywhere. And I was beyond measure.

I would call that in the same breath with pride and arrogance. My professional development led to less and less humility.

Probably that I went back to Germany in 2004 from the financial firm Investcorp in London, as CEO of Karstadt-Quelle. But I wanted to show it to everyone, including the journalists, I'll get it.

You wanted to correspond, so to speak, with your successor Gunter Thielen and with Liz Mohn, who fired you in 2002.

And at eye level: "Look, you've made a mistake!" Thielen appears in some places in the book. He should have had the job at Karstadt-Quelle.

Funky, how life can sometimes play. That's the second facet: "Thielen, listen, I'll take that away now!"

One learns in this book of confession: In the upper economy, it sometimes happens like in the football club. It is also a warning of greed.

Middelhoff, who received a special bonus amounting to a high double-digit million amount for a deal from Bertelsmann, made it into the exclusive network of the private bank Sal.

Oppenheim and the tax-parking artist Josef Esch. "I signed everything blindly. They did not have to work hard, I was so eager for everything.

After a villa in St. Tropez, after a yacht. Increasingly, however, lacked the empathy for fellow human beings: "I'm not cold, but I've come over so.

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