Former adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer has been confirmed as the new president of Bayern Munich after he secured an overwhelming majority of votes at the Bundesliga club’s Annual General Meeting.
In what was a widely expected move, Hainer, 65, replaces Uli Hoeness, who is stepping down after more than 40 years in charge of Bayern. “FC Bayern München is the best club in the world,” Hainer said. “It is a pleasure and a great honor to be standing before you here today.”
Hainer had been deputy chairman of the Bayern Munich supervisory board since the company’s incorporation in 2002 and served as chairman between March and September 2014, the year Hoeness resigned from the role to serve a prison term for tax evasion.
The Bavarian joined adidas in 1987 and held a number of senior sales positions before becoming chief executive and chairman of the executive board in 2001. During this time, the value of the company increased twelvefold from €3bn ($3.32bn/£2.56bn) to €36bn, sales grew from around €6bn per year to over €18bn per year, and profits went from around €200m to over €1bn. In 2016, Hainer resigned from the chief executive position at his own request.
The relationship between the sportswear manufacturer and Bayern Munich goes back more than 50 years. The team’s current kit supplier deal with the brand is the seventh biggest in football, worth €60m a year according to data from SportBusiness Soccer.
Hainer’s replacement of Hoeness as president is the beginning of a major transitional period for Bayern, a club known for its consistency of success both on and off the field. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge will also be leaving as Bayern chief executive in 2021 after what will be 19 years in the leadership role and almost 30 years as a club executive. Rummenigge will be replaced by former Bayern and German national team goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who will join the advisory board in January 2020 to help prepare him for the role.
Hoeness will leave Bayern in strong commercial position. The club reported record turnover of €750.4m for the 2018-19 season, up from €624.3m last year.
Sponsorship revenues stood at €196.5m for the season while the club made €124.5m in broadcast revenues from appearances in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and friendlies. Matchday revenues totalled €179.1m while Uefa Champions League entry fees and premiums accounted for €86.7m in revenues. The club made €91.5m from merchandising and €90.3m from transfers.
Ebitda rose to €146.1m, up from €136.5m the previous season and profit after tax stood at €42.7m. Equity capital rose from €451.3m to €497m.
The club remains confident that a change of leadership will not affect its fortunes. “A transition is always important [for anyone] and it is the same for Bayern Munich. But we are in a great position that it’s not a transition from today to tomorrow, it will be a process for years and this is, I think, a big advantage for us. I think we are in a good position with the people who are following and those who are still staying,” Jörg Wacker, Bayern Munich’s executive board member for internationalization and strategy, told SportBusiness.
Wacker believes Hainer is the “perfect choice” to become club president as he has a sports background with adidas as well as local ties, coming from Bavaria and being a lifelong Bayern fan.
Regarding the kind of leader he will be, Hainer said recently: “I absolutely want to be everybody’s president and approachable for everyone, for partners, for the staff. And not only from our core football section, but also for the basketballers, the chess section, for people from the entire club. FC Bayern isn’t only about football.”
Heiner was quick to pay tribute to his illustrious predecessor, who transformed the commercial fortunes of the club. “I bow down to Uli for his life’s work. What you’ve achieved for this club is simply extraordinary,” Hainer said.
Hoeness, who is staying on the club’s advisory board until November 2023, was named an honorary president. In emotional scenes, cries of “Uli Hoeness, Uli Hoeness!” rang out from club members as the departing president told the crowd: “That was it. I am done. Thank you.”