German independent digital distributor Zebralution is restructuring its management team.
COO Tina Jürgens and label veteran Konrad von Löhneysen are being appointed co-CEOs. Company co-founder Kurt Thielen will step down as CEO at the end of 2023.
As co-CEO, Tina Jürgens will take over management of the Zebralution Group in January 2024. She has coordinated the company’s day-to-day operations as COO since October 2022 and originally joined in 2018 as MD of Zebralution Podcast.
Tina Jürgens, incoming co-CEO, said: “Kurt Thielen has very big shoes to fill, so I am honoured to have the trust of all shareholders and co-managers. Zebralution has developed over the past years from a music-only distributor to one of the leading all-audio companies. Zebralution is now not only at home in the music, audiobooks and podcast industries, it also offers the necessary technical infrastructure and the corresponding services. I want to successfully continue on this path, with a focus on the further technical development of our systems and offerings, as well as the continued expansion of the synergies between all business areas.”
Zebralution has also appointed veteran label boss Konrad von Löhneysen as Co-CEO. Von Löhneysen joins in October 2023 and will head up the group’s music division, including expanding its neighbouring rights activities (via subsidiary, Rightz Audio), as well as developing its US operations.
Von Löhneysen has been a shareholder in Zebralution alongside Kurt Thielen, Sascha Lazimbat and Christof Ellinghaus since 2017.
After 30 years in the label business, the new role is von Löhneysen’s first step into digital distribution. He is the founder and MD of independent label Embassy Of Music, formerly Ministry of Sound Germany, which Zebralution signed as one of its earliest clients.
Zebralution is soon set to renew its distribution partnership with Embassy of Music. Its partnership with City Slang, the independent label founded 33 years ago by fellow Zebralution shareholder Christof Ellinghaus, will also be extended.
Konrad von Löhneysen, incoming co-CEO, said: “For me, this new position is the logical continuation of my previous work as a shareholder. My thanks go to Kurt for his successful leadership of the company. We will continue to strengthen Zebralution’s influence on the music world. We are a Berlin-based company – with no major or financial investors. We understand music and we listen to what our partners and labels want, whatever the challenges may be. These are exciting times to be in the music biz!”
I am immensely proud of what we have achieved with Zebralution as pioneers in the industry
After almost 20 years at the helm, company co-founder Kurt Thielen will step down as CEO at the end of 2023. He will continue to work with Zebralution on a consultancy basis, focusing on its international audiobook business.
Prior to Zebralution, Thielen established and led Rough Trade Germany/Zomba, one of Europe’s leading independent physical distributors.
Kurt Thielen, co-founder & departing CEO, said: “I look back on 38 exciting years as CEO of Zebralution and Rough Trade/Zomba. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved with Zebralution as pioneers in the industry. I can’t think of a more opportune moment for this change in responsibility. I would like to thank the fantastic Zebralution team, my fellow shareholders and especially Tina and Konrad. With these two, I know the company is in the best hands. I am sure they will lead Zebralution with as much passion as I did.”
The new appointments follow the move of co-founder Sascha Lazimbat from his role as MD to director and president of the company’s US entity in September. Based in Los Angeles, Zebralution US launched at the beginning of 2023.
Lazimbat forms its new management team together with CEO Natalia Carlson, to head up marketing, sales and customer support services for all of Zebralution’s business units in the US market. In addition, the new entity will focus on developing new business areas, including music licensing for film, TV and advertising.
Sascha Lazimbat, president of Zebralution US, added: “The Zebralution Group has always been driven by new opportunities and challenges, and currently we see tremendous growth potential in the US. Zebralution is well positioned in Europe, now we want to bring our state-of-the-art technologies and products to the US market. With Tina and Konrad as co-CEOs of Zebralution Group, we have a real dream team at the helm. And the fact that we are now demonstrating the diversity of our company at its highest level is the cherry on top for me.”
PHOTO: (L-R) Konrad von Löhneysen, Tina Jürgens