Top German tabloid editor ousted over misconduct claims

Germany Newspaper

LONDON (AP) — The powerful chief editor of Germany's best-selling newspaper has been removed from his post following revelations of misconduct, publishing company Axel Springer SE said Monday.

Julian Reichelt was axed from the helm of the Bild tabloid “with immediate effect,” the company said in a statement.

The 41-year-old was suspended earlier this year as part of company-ordered probe into his management style, but later reinstated.

Axel Springer said it had recently gained new information about Reichelt “as a result of press investigations” that it had followed up on, revealing that he had "failed to maintain a clear boundary between private and professional matters” even after being required to do so following the internal investigation in March.

Reichelt had also lied to the board about this, the company said.

Reichelt could not be reached for comment.

Axel Springer said it would appoint Johannes Boie, 37, as the new chair of Bild’s three-member editorial board.

The announcement came after it emerged over the weekend that journalists at a rival German media group had been investigating allegations against Reichelt but were prevented from publishing their findings.

In a letter dated Friday, four senior reporters at the Ippen media group accused their company and its publisher, Dirk Ippen, of a “breach of trust” for deciding to halt the report, which had been months in the making and was due to be published Sunday.

The Ippen media group said it had nixed the story to "avoid the impression we might want to economically harm a competitor." It denied there had been any pressure from Axel Springer executives over the matter.

While Ippen held back on its story, The New York Times published a report Sunday about Reichelt's alleged affair with an Axel Springer trainee. The affair had been part of the probe ordered earlier this year by Axel Springer into allegations that Reichelt had acted in a bullying manner and abused his position of power toward female staff.

Reichelt, one of the mightiest figures in German media, was briefly suspended during that investigation but later reinstated after the company said the probe — conducted by an independent law firm — found his actions didn’t warrant dismissal.

In its statement, Axel Springer said the first investigation never included allegations of sexual harassment or assault against Reichelt, but rather centered around “consensual intimate relationships