(Bloomberg) -- Axel Springer SE removed the editor-in-chief of German tabloid Bild Zeitung with immediate effect over new findings of his behavior, in the wake of a probe into alleged misconduct.
“The management board learned that Julian Reichelt did not clearly separate personal and professional matters even after completing the compliance procedure in spring 2021 and told the management board the untruth,” the German publishing company said Monday in a statement.
The decision to remove Reichelt followed a report from the New York Times that revealed he had allegedly promoted a junior employee he was having a relationship with.
Reichelt was suspended earlier this year while a law firm conducted a probe into the accusations made against him. Although Reichelt “admitted the mixing of professional and private relationships” according to a Axel Springer statement, he was quickly reappointed in a new executive role shared with fellow editor Alexandra Würzbach.
Reichelt previously clashed with first female editor of Germany’s influential Bild newspaper, Tanit Koch, who quit in early 2018.
The report also raised questions about how Axel Springer manages its publications.
“The culture at Bild was not up to our standards and does not reflect the broader culture at the company,” Chief Executive Officer Mathias Doepfner said in a statement earlier on Monday. “To say that it does paints a false view of Axel Springer.”
In a new statement announcing Reichelt’s exit, Doepfner said he would’ve like to continue working with the top editor, but this was “no longer possible.”
Axel Springer recently stepped up its campaign to build a U.S. news empire in when it agreed to buy Politico in a $1 billion deal in September. In 2015, it bought Business Insider, and, last year, Axel Springer acquired a majority stake in the newsletter publisher Morning Brew Inc.
Johannes Boie, 37, currently editor-in-chief of Welt Am Sonntag, will become the new chairman of the Bild.
KKR, Axel Springer’s owner, wasn’t immediately available for comment.
(Updated with additional context.)
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