Bertelsmann AG had reorganized and needed to establish a North American division within its new Book Group product line. Peter Olson (former CEO and executive board member) personally selected Dr. Edgell to establish all administrative and controlling structures for this new division ($1 billion in annual revenue). He envisioned and implemented strategic business planning procedures for subsidiaries—Bantam Doubleday Dell, Doubleday Direct, Transworld in 5 countries & 3 continents—and established financial reporting and approval processes for capital projects. With the new division in place, Bertelsmann was able to successfully grow its book businesses.
Dr. Edgell has worked in various capacities on numerous strategic alliances and partnerships during his career. A few of the companies with whom he has worked on alliances include Columbia House, Ford Unlimited, BMG Music, The League of American Theaters and Producers, and Hertz. While at the Rotterdam School of Management in The Netherlands, he developed a complex international strategic alliance between four companies: General Fashion Service and Kerstel Fashions B. V., Dutch distributors of uniforms; Texsteel Establishment Ruggell, a Liechtenstein based distribution company; and Drobe, a Lithuanian fabric manufacturer. This partnership plan enabled General Fashion Service and Kerstel Fashions B.V. to secure bank financing.
International Market Development
Bertelsmann wanted to enter new foreign markets. Specifically, Dr. Edgell was tasked with evaluating entertainment and book business opportunities in Asian countries. He led a team that used his multi-variable model to rank 11 key countries. As a result, Bertelsmann successfully launched book clubs in China (200k members) that yielded significant revenue.
Bertelsmann wanted to improve book revenues in English language countries. Specifically, Dr. Edgell was charged with strategic management (P&L responsibility for annual revenue of over $200 million) of the Doubleday book clubs. He directed a team (including creative) that enhanced catalog and Web site marketing programs, conducted research, launched new products and clubs, and created high value strategic alliances. By more effectively acquiring new members and improving lifetime sales from existing members, his team increased revenues by 20%.