Roster Move

Transfer on the Bayern Munich Board

One stadium to bind them all. Source: Keystone
First the stadium, then the board. 
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Bayern Munich aims to bring more professionalism to its management and tap new international markets.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The former head of Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeness resigned and was jailed on tax fraud charges.
    • Helmut Markwort, publisher of the weekly news magazine Focus and a member of the team’s supervisory board, is said to be on the way out.
    • Last season for the first time, Bayern Munich had revenues of €528 million, or about $668 million.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Bayern Munich, Germany’s top soccer club, is in the midst of an administrative shakeup following the resignation of former president Uli Hoeness, who was jailed in June after being found guilty of tax evasion. The 62-year-old was sentenced last May to three and a-half years for tax fraud involving stock-market speculation in Switzerland. After the trial, which was closely followed by a fascinated German public, Mr. Hoeness relinquished all duties with the soccer team.

The aim of restructuring is to bring more professionalism to Bayern Munich, or FC Bayern München as the club is officially called.

A big move in that direction could be the appointment of Markus Riess, who heads up the German operations of insurance giant Allianz. Mr. Riess is expected to join the club’s supervisory board, Handelsblatt has learned from sources close to the board.

Allianz is the third largest shareholder of the championship soccer club, along with Adidas and Audi.

Mr. Riess is credited with putting Allianz Deutschland back on course.

The insurance company has nominated Mr. Riess for the board seat, to be vacated by Helmut Markwort, publisher of the weekly news magazine Focus. The board is scheduled to fill the position and the election will be in November.

Karl Hopfner will head the board, with businessman Rudolf Schels as his deputy.

The other members include Adidas chief executive, Herbert Hainer; Volkswagen chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, Audi chief executive, Rupert Stadler, and Telekom chief executive, Timotheus Höttges.

Mr. Riess is credited with putting Allianz Deutschland back on course.

“A €500-million enterprise requires professional structures,” a member of the supervisory board told Handelsblatt.

Last season, Bayern Munich reported revenues of €528 million ($670 million).

Bayern Munich2-01

The club has embarked on an ambitious international marketing program. Earlier this year, it opened an office in the United States and plans another in Shanghai.

This summer the team toured the United States, where it is winning more fans, and plans a similar promotion program in China next year.

Bayern Munich is entering a new era without Uli Hoeness, the former German national team player and long-time Bayern Munich striker cleverly guided the business affairs at the club for decades. And although Mr. Hoeness is currently incarcerated in Landsberg am Lech, he’s kept well informed.

Last weekend, the 62-year-old was allowed for the second time to leave jail for a few hours. The trained sausage-maker met with honorary team president Franz Beckenbauer, manager Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Clemens Tönnies, head of the soccer team Schalke, at his house on the scenic lake Tegernsee.

Mr. Riess has been a Bayern Munich fan for years and is a member of the club.

If everything goes well, Mr. Hoeness will soon be allowed to leave jail on a daily basis. The plan is for him to work with the club’s youth division.

Whether Mr. Hoeness will resume his former position remains to be seen. “A door will always be held open for him,” a member of team’s supervisory board told Handelsblatt.

But one Bayern Munich official, calling the days under Mr. Hoeness’ leadership “a one-man show,” said that that continued growth required “another team lineup.”

From the upper echelons of Allianz, Mr. Riess is expected to provide that new direction. Sponsoring Bayern Munich is in the hands of Allianz Deutschland, while the parent company looks after involvement in Formula One racing.

Mr. Riess has been a Bayern Munich fan for years and is a member of the club.

Similar moves are happening with the team’s main league rival, Borussia Dortmund. The head of Puma, Björn Gulden, and the head of Signal-Iduna, Ulrich Leitermann, are up for election to Dortmund’s supervisory board in November. And Werner Müller, head of the RAG Foundation, is slated to join. His foundation owns almost 70 percent of Evonik, the largest shareholder in Borussia Dortmund.

For top clubs in the German soccer league, globalization is bringing new financial opportunities. Marketing possibilities are gradually becoming exhausted in the company.

To contact the authors: hofer@handelsblatt.com, hoepner@handelsblatt.com

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