Just before the “New Economy” collapses at the start of the new millennium, Bertelsmann sells its shares in AOL Europe for a large profit and defends its strong position among the major media groups. As the Group’s CEO, Gunter Thielen consolidates the company from 2002 on, and strengthens its decentralized organization. Digitization becomes the most important trend during these years. In 2006, Bertelsmann buys back 4.5 billion euros worth of its own shares from the Belgian Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, for which it had previously received additional shares in RTL Group. This is followed by portfolio adjustments. During the economic crisis at the end of the decade, the new CEO Hartmut Ostrowski initiates the biggest cost and efficiency program in the company's history. The year 2009 is overshadowed by Reinhard Mohn's death on 3 October.