Management

Executive Management

Markus Schaefer

Dr. Markus Schäfer

President and CEO

After completing his doctorate in nuclear physics at the University of Göttingen, Markus Schäfer began his professional career in 1997 as a consultant at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in Munich before joining TV-Loonland AG in 2000 as its COO and later Head of the Business Unit Home Entertainment. In 2004, he moved to All3Media Deutschland GmbH in Munich. There he held various management positions, including that of CFO from 2010 until his appointment as CEO in 2014. From 2018 to 2022, Schäfer was also Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Allianz Deutscher Produzenten - Film & Fernsehen e. V.

Since July 2022, the proven expert in corporate development, portfolio management and strategic growth has been the President and CEO and spokesman of the Executive Board of ZDF Studios GmbH.

Dr. Markus Schäfer's Office

Mrs. Lydia Mueller

Karoline Meichsner-Sertl

Karoline Meichsner-Sertl

Executive Vice President

After studying law in Hamburg and Berlin, Karoline Meichsner-Sertl began her professional career in 1993 as a lawyer specializing in legal affairs at ARTE Deutschland before moving on to become head of acquisitions and legal affairs at Degeto Film in 1995. From 2000 to 2002 she was deputy director of the legal department at EM.TV & Merchandising AG. In 2002, she took on responsibilities at Deutsche Welle, first in the Department of Strategy and Marketing and later in the Corporate Law Department. Starting March 2009, Karoline Meichsner-Sertl was in charge of legal matters at ZDF Studios. Since January 2019, she is Executive Vice President at ZDF Studios and with responsibility for the departments of Finance, Legal Affairs, Human Resources, Corporate and Portfolio Strategy, Content Operations and Localization and Digital Innovation.

Karoline Meichsner-Sertl's Office

Ms. Michele Meurer

Management Board

Antje Carl

Antje Carl

Vice President Human Resources

During her studies in political science at the University of Bonn, which she completed with a Master’s Degree, she began her professional career as a freelance trainer in the adult education sector and then as a scientific staff member at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn before becoming personnel adviser at Rexel GmbH Eschborn. As of March 2000, Ms. Carl became Senior Personnel Adviser of the SEB AG in Frankfurt and subsequently Artist Manager at the Musica Management GmbH Wiesbaden. Since July 2005 Antje Carl has held various positions at the Motorola Solutions GmbH Germany in Idstein, and was personnel director for Germany, Austria and Switzerland & International Business Partner beginning in April 2012. In August 2013, she took over over the post as Vice President Human Resources at ZDF Studios.

Christine Denilauler

Christine Denilauler

Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications

After studying Business Management at the European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel, Christine Denilauler secured a position with Mothercare Europe in Watford, Great Britain, in 1986, working first as Management Trainee and then as Merchandise Supply Controller.

In 1989 she moved to Diners Club Germany as Product Assistant and MIS Analyst, and in 1990 she was appointed Merchandising Manager with this company.

From 1991 to 1995, as a member of the Category Management team at Wella AG Darmstadt, she was in charge of the international marketing activities for the company’s most important brands.

In the year 1996 Christine Denilauler joined ZDF Studios as Sales Manager responsible for international distribution, and since 2002 she has been Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications. In January 2013, Christine Denilauler was appointed Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications.

Robert Franke

Robert Franke

Vice President Drama

After graduating from the University of Management and Communication (FH) in Potsdam Robert Franke was initially production manager and director at Suburban Productions in Nauen and thereafter co-founder and executive producer of Cmate Entertainment GmbH & Co KG in Potsdam. From July 2007 onwards, he was Head of Content of Viewster Digital Video Access AG in Zurich before joining MyVideo (Pro7Sat1 - Magic Internet GmbH) in November 2011 as Head of Content. In August 2013 Robert Franke became Chief Content Officer and Managing Director of Viewster Germany GmbH in Berlin. Since November 2015 Franke heads the department responsible for the commercialization of ZDF's drama program output as well as for international coproductions and own program developments.

Dr. Viola Fromm

Viola Fromm

Vice President Legal Affairs

After studying law at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and completing a doctorate in banking law, Viola Fromm studied European and international business law at the University of St Gallen (Master of European and International Business Law, M.B.L.). She has many years of experience, primarily in the area of national and international mergers and acquisitions / corporate law.

She began her career in 1998 at the law firm Bette Westenberger Brink, which specialises in commercial law, before moving to the international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 2001. Fromm worked as a lecturer at the University of Cologne and as an independent consultant from 2007. Her legal expertise extends to the drafting and negotiation of complex contracts, especially M&A mandates, as well as to the provision of advice on corporate law matters, preparation of expert opinions on general business law issues, including judicial appeal-related issues, as well as to the fields of European law and World Trade Organisation rules.

Viola Fromm is the founder and managing director of FROMM – Global Media Verlags GmbH (since 2009) and is responsible for the idea and concept behind the BIZZiety magazine for entrepreneurs. She is a member of the Bar Association of Rheinhessen / the German Bar Association (DAV), the German-American Lawyers Association (DAJV) and the German Association of Specialized Journalists (DFJV). She lectures on press law at the IST University of Management, Düsseldorf.

Since November 2019, Viola Fromm has been Vice President Legal Affairs at ZDF Studios GmbH.

Sebastian Hehlemann

Sebastian Hehlemann

Vice President Content Operations and Localization

After completing his training as a banker at Dresdner Bank AG, Sebastian Hehlemann studied Economics at the Goethe University Frankfurt and Media Management at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden. In March 2011, he began his professional career at ZDF Studios and held various positions in the field of material coordination and synchronisation, where in his most recent role as Project Manager his responsibilities included the introduction of technical innovations, the initiation, management and execution of technical projects and the implementation of new processes, as well as the optimisation of existing ones. Sebastian Hehlemann has been managing the Content Operations and Localization department at ZDF Studios since April 2019. Within this role, he is responsible for the management of material processes, technical further development and innovation in the sense of strategic development and its implementation, as well as the services provided in the department for ZDF and for the operative departments of ZDF Studios. Sebastian Hehlemann is a member of the Fernseh- und Kinotechnische Gesellschaft e.V., one of the oldest professional technology associations in Germany.

Marcus Kroth

Markus Kroth

Vice President Finance and Authorized Signatory

Markus Kroth studied Economics in Mainz, and between the years 1990 and 1993 he had his first professional positions in the areas of accountancy, banking and management consultancy.

In the year 1993 he joined ZDF Studios as Controller, promoted in 1998 to Head of Controlling and EDP, and in the year 2000 to Head of Controlling and Finances. Markus Kroth has been Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at ZDF Studios since 2001.

Peter Lang

Peter Lang

Vice President Junior

Following his Business Administration studies, Peter Lang was assistant to the management of ZDF Studios GmbH from 1994 to 1998. He was then responsible as project manager for the German Pay TV market. Since 1999 he has been head of the Merchandising division, which was expanded in 2004 through the addition of the business sector New Media. Moreover, Peter Lang was CEO of Krimitel GmbH & Co KG from 2001 to 2003, headed the ZDF.newmedia GmbH until 2004, and has been CEO of MPEG mbH & Co KG since 2004. In January 2012 he was appointed General Manager of Studio Hamburg Enterprises GmbH, and in January 2013 he was announced Vice President Junior.

Volker Lehmann

Volker Lehmann

Vice President Acquisitions and Coproductions ZDF

After studying Management Science and Literature in Hamburg and Paris, Volker Lehmann was in charge of acquisition and distribution projects in various international firms between 1988 and 1993.

In 1993 he joined ZDF Studios as project manager for License Acquisitions of ZDF and the channels of the broadcasting group. In 1998 he assumed the direction of the business sector License Acquisitions. Volker Lehmann has been heading ZDF‘s Acquisitions and Coproductions since 2013.

Tanja Meier-Sieden

Tanja Meier-Sieden

Vice President Portfolio Strategy and Management

After graduating with a degree in business administration from the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Ecole Supérieure des Affaires Université Paris XII, Tanja Meier-Sieden first worked as a Financial Services Consultant with Investors Marketing AG before joining ZDF Studios in 2007 as Desk Officer for the Executive Management. From 2009 onwards she was Project Manager of the staff unit Business Development and Affiliates, alongside which she was Co-Managing Director of Studio Hamburg Enterprises GmbH in the years 2013/14. She has headed the Corporate and Portfolio Strategy division since July 2016.

Ralf Rückauer

Ralf Rueckauer

Vice President Unscripted

After studying Film and Television Sciences at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Ralf Rueckauer started out in his career in 1997 as Junior Creative Producer at Gemini/Colon Filmproduktion in Cologne. In 1999, Rueckauer moved to German pubcaster ZDF, where he worked in the channel's "Das kleine Fernsehspiel" department, heading up the format development lab "quantum".

Rueckauer has worked for ZDF Studios since 2003, initially as Project Manager Distribution and Investments, with the focus on documentaries, and then as Sales Manager for German-speaking countries and Central and Eastern Europe. In January 2012 he was appointed Head of Sales and was responsible for the sales of full-length programming. Since January 2013 Rückauer has been heading ZDF Studios' department for factual programming as VP Factual. Since January 2018 Ralf Rückauer has been in charge of the Unscripted department, a merger of Factual and Entertainment. In February 2019, after the purchase of Off The Fence by ZDF Studios, Ralf Rückauer was appointed CEO alongside founder Ellen Windemuth.

Simon Zseboek

Simon Zseboek

Vice President Digital Innovation

In 2006, Simon Zsebök started off working at NFP marketing & distribution in various areas of theatrical film distribution. From 2008 onwards, he studied for his bachelor's degree in Communication in Social and Economic Contexts at Berlin University of the Arts. As of May 2012, he took on the task of Cinema Distribution Manager at reelport GmbH in the pan-European and MEDIA-funded film distribution project Europe's Finest. There, he was responsible for digitisation processes, subtitling, the rights database and, as Technical Project Manager, the initiation of a digital coproduction platform. In January 2014, Simon Zsebök moved to Viewster Deutschland GmbH, where, as Festival Manager, he launched the Viewster Online Film Festival and supervised it in its entirety. He assumed responsibility for Viewster's web application as Senior Product Manager in January 2015, before moving to Magine Germany GmbH in January 2016, where he eventually became Head of Product and Operations and was responsible for the operational business activities of the OTT television provider Magine TV.

Since August 2018 he has been in charge of Digital Innovation at ZDF Studios.