In his position as CEO, Martin Werfeli was instrumental in the development of Ringier AG for almost six years. He successfully brought together the independently operating Group Divisions Publishing Switzerland and Publishing Europe to form a multinational media enterprise with over 7000 employees and adjusted the organizational structures to effectively face the challenges of digital change. Martin Werfeli has decided to relinquish his operational responsibilities as of the end of the year for personal reasons. Under his leadership, Ringier underwent a significant transformation in recent years from a classic publishing and printing company to a multimedia group with operations in nine countries in Europe and Asia and with cross-platform and cross-country interconnected activities. This enabled Ringier to explore and develop new growth opportunities and quadruple revenue from sales in the digital segment in the last two fiscal years. With sales of CHF 1.458 billion the Group generated record profits for the sixth consecutive year amounting to CHF 102.7 million in 2007.
Christian Unger to become new CEO of Ringier AG
Werfeli’s successor as CEO of Ringier AG is Christian Unger, most recently CEO of the Naspers subsidiary MIH Internet Europe B.V. In this position, Unger was responsible for all European internet operations of the South African media group Naspers. He was also in charge of implementing the internet acquisition strategy of Naspers in Western and Eastern Europe. The MIH Internet group includes the auction platforms Ricardo.ch, Allegro.pl and holdings in leading portals, such as gadugadu.pl and mail.ru. Previously, Unger had been working primarily in the classic publishing industry for an extended period of time.
Extensive experience in classic and digital media operations
Christian Unger began his career at Bertelsmann Group of Germany where he acquired extensive experience in the print media over a period of twelve years:
In 1995 Unger was named Managing Director of two publishers of professional information within Bertelsmann Group. Starting in 2002, as CEO of Bertelsmann China, Unger established a number of joint ventures in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong with a total of 1900 employees. He played a major role in building up Gruner + Jahr Magazine Publishing as well as various online platforms. With Beijing 21st Century Book Chain, he established and headed the first private bookselling chain in China. In 2005 Unger was elected to the Board of Arcandor AG where he was responsible for all foreign activities of Arcandor consisting of a total of twelve globally operating companies. Christian Unger moved to London in 2007 to join Tradus plc. as CEO heading the e-commerce enterprise and its various online auction platforms and e-commerce portals in twelve countries. During this term as CEO, the stock price of Tradus tripled and in the year 2007 it was the best performing share within the FTSE 250 Index. Tradus plc. was sold to Naspers in March 2008 for approximately CHF 2 billion.
Christian Unger is married, the father of three children and lives in Switzerland. He studied philosophy and art history at the University of Munich and graduated from the European Business School Schloss Reichartshausen, in Oestrich-Winkel, Germany with a Masters in Business Administration.
After six years as CEO Werfeli joins the Board of Directors while remaining directly responsible for all printing operations in Switzerland
During Martin Werfeli’s term as CEO, a wide variety of long-term environmental and social projects was completed, the company’s internal continuing education program was expanded, and the Ringier Academy was established. Foundations were set up and developed in Romania and Vietnam, and a group-wide standardized corporate social responsibility program was created for the first time. Martin Werfeli has been with Ringier since 1977 and a member of the Group Executive Board since 1996. In March of 2003 he was elected CEO by the Board of Directors. Werfeli headed the Group’s Corporate Finance Division for seven years, from 1996 to 2003, holding a dual function as CFO/COO for three of these years. He was also in charge of the Group’s Newspaper Division for two years.
As a member of the Board of Directors of Ringier AG Martin Werfeli will stay active in the company and remain committed to supporting Ringier’s future success and excellent image. Additionally, Martin Werfeli will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Ringier Print Holding AG and as such have direct responsibility for all of Ringier’s print activities in Switzerland (Swiss Printers AG; Ringier Print Adligenswil AG). In the future, he will also be involved in various executive committees and on the boards of Ringier companies, both in Switzerland and abroad. Furthermore, Martin Werfeli will continue to act as personal advisor to the Ringier family.
Ringier Group Communications