Schäfer succeeds Fred Burcksen, who is leaving the commercial subsidiary of German public broadcast ZDF at his own request after more than 26 years. Together with co-director Karoline Meichsner-Sertl, Schäfer will be instrumental in guiding ZDF Studios into the future.
Schäfer, who holds a doctorate in physics, has a wealth of knowledge in corporate development, portfolio management and strategic growth, according to ZDF Studios. His industry background includes various management positions at All3Media Deutschland in Munich from 2004 before being appointed CFO in 2010 and CEO in 2014. He is also Deputy Chairman of the Board of German industry alliance Allianz Deutscher Produzenten – Film- und Fernsehen.
“In Markus Schäfer, we have an experienced media manager taking over the management of the ZDF Studios Group. With his knowledge of the industry and strategic skills, he will drive forward the digital development of the group,” said ZDF Director-General Norbert Himmler. “I would like to thank Fred Burcksen for his great services to ZDF Studios and his extraordinary commitment to the company. He is handing over a very well positioned group of companies to his successor.”
“As an internationally active and established media powerhouse, ZDF Studios has an excellent reputation and a great deal of creative momentum,” explained Schäfer. “In this context, continuity, collaboration and sustainable innovation are of central importance. I’m very much looking forward, with the entire team, to opening another chapter in the almost 30-year history of ZDF Studios.”
Fred Burcksen, President and CEO of ZDF Studios, added: “I’ve been fortunate to be able to help develop and shape the ZDF Studios Group over a very long period and from the start it’s been a role that was as fascinating as it was challenging. Today I’m pleased to be leaving behind a successful organisation and handing the baton on to a proven industry expert.”