Julian Reichelt had “asked the board of directors to be temporarily relieved of his duties until the allegations have been clarified”, the group said in a statement. The complaints prompted the company to launch an internal investigation led by lawyers.
Reichelt is suspected of having promoted interns with whom he had affairs and then sidelining or firing them, the Spiegel newspaper reported. Members of staff came forward months ago but Spiegel said management had been slow to look into the allegations.
However, the publisher defended itself in its statement: “As a matter of principle Axel Springer always has to distinguish between rumors, indications and clear evidence.”
It said the firm would take action when there was clear evidence, adding: “Currently, there is no such clear evidence. Prejudgments based on rumors are unacceptable for the Axel Springer corporate culture.”
Reichelt denies the claims, the group said, adding that the investigation was ongoing.