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Languages for all - Babbel reinforces leadership

  • Founder and co-CEO Markus Witte becomes Executive Chairman of the Board
  • Co-CEO Arne Schepker remains as the sole CEO
  • Veteran executive Katherine Melchior Ray appointed new CMO

Babbel rounded off the 2018 financial year with well over €100 million in sales and expanding the US into its strongest sales market. With the company progressing at speed, now the company is strengthening its leadership: Babbel founder Markus Witte, previously co-CEO and Chairman of the Board, will take on the newly created position of Executive Chairman of the Board. Co-CEO Arne Schepker remains as the sole CEO. The role of CMO welcomes a new face: From Tokyo, internationally experienced prestige brand marketer, Katherine Melchior Ray, joins the team in Berlin. Babbel 2020 will benefit by advancing further language learning opportunities than just the app.

In the past two years, the leadership team has already been reinforced by Julie Hansen as US CEO in New York, Geoff Stead as CPO and Philipp Schmidt as CISO. Founder Thomas Holl held several positions: As president of Babbel Inc., he brought Babbel to the USA and then returned to Berlin as CSO. Since 2018 he is again responsible for product engineering in his original post as CTO.

“As Babbel founders, we are used to changing roles within the company. This has led to important changes and success over the past 12 years,” emphasizes Markus Witte, Babbel Founder and Executive Chairman. “Not many start-ups manage to break 100 million euros in turnover. But for us this is only the beginning. There’s a lot to do and with Arne at the helm, Babbel has the best possible CEO for it.”

Arne Schepker joined from Zalando in 2015 as Babbel CMO and was instrumental in driving sales over €100 million. He has been co-CEO since the beginning of 2019.

“I’m very much looking forward to stepping up to drive Babbel’s mission further and strengthen our culture. As the sole CEO, my role becomes even bigger and more challenging,” says Arne Schepker, CEO Babbel. “We make a positive difference in the lives of millions of people and contribute to worldwide cultural understanding. Babbel not only has the best product in the digital language learning market, but also a great team behind it.”

Arne is now handing over marketing responsibility to the new CMO, Katherine Melchior Ray, who is moving from the Shiseido Cooperation in Tokyo.

“Most of my career has been devoted to building strong brands in different cultures. I know from my own experience how much multilingualism helps to understand the world and, ultimately, oneself”, says Katherine Melchior Ray, CMO Babbel. “My goal for Babbel is to make the company a learning platform that helps everyone learn a new language, whether it’s for travelling, career advancement, or for self-improvement.”

Babbel is the world’s top-selling language learning app. In addition to its consumer product, it offers a B2B solution, Babbel for Business, and has recently entered the language travel market with Babbel Travel.


About Babbel

Babbel – the app that helps you speak a new language like you’ve always wanted to. When learning a language, nothing is more rewarding than a real conversation. 73% of surveyed customers feel that they’d be able to hold a conversation within five hours of using the app.

The Babbel language learning app for web, iOS and Android makes it easy to learn 14 different languages from 8 display languages. Bite-sized lessons fit into everyday life and are split into useful real-world topics, from introducing oneself, to ordering food and making travel arrangements. The app’s effective game mechanics ensure that learners stay motivated to achieve their goals, with the average user continuing to learn with Babbel for more than 12 months. Uniquely, every course is created specifically for each language pair by a team of education experts, linguists and language teachers. Fast Company Magazine recognised Babbel as the most innovative education company of 2016.

Babbel was founded in 2007. Since then, the team has grown to 750 people from more than 50 nations, spread between Berlin and New York. With no ads, and a transparent, subscription-based business model, the company’s focus remains firmly on getting learners conversational fast. In 2016 the company surpassed 1,000,000 active paying subscribers.

For more information, visit www.Babbel.com