Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich’s chairman for the past decade, has confirmed speculation that he will not stand for re-election in November, having overseen an unprecented period of success for the club.
A statement released by Bayern on Thursday evening read: “Uli Hoeness will no longer run for the office of president at FC Bayern München eV’s annual general meeting on Novermber 15, 2019. On Wednesday Hoeness informed fellow members of the board, Prof. Dr. Dieter Mayer and Walter Mennekes, as well FC Bayern München eV’s advisory board. On Thursday, he announced his decision to the supervisory board of FC Bayern München AG.”
Hoeness has been the driving force behind a sustained period of domestic dominance that has seen Bayern win the Bundesliga in eight of the past nine seasons that he has been chairman, plus a Champions League title in 2013 and several domestic cups.
Once Hoeness stands down in the coming weeks, it is expected that the former CEO of Adidas, Hainer, will replace him. Although this could only turn out to be a short-term appointment, with legendary former captain and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn being readied to take a senior role in 2020.
CEO of Bayern Munich Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is expected to remain in his post until 2021, when his current contract expires, and it is rumored that former Bayern captain Philipp Lahm could also take on a senior role once Rummenigge departs.
What has Hoeness achieved?
Hoeness’ influence at Bayern has been unparalleled in German football. He was appointed as the club’s general manager in 1979, moving from the field to the boardroom soon after his playing days ended at the age of 27 due to injury.
Philipp Lahm could eventually join the top table at Bayern.
He joined forces with fellow club legends Franz Beckenbauer and Rummenigge in 1991 to overhaul Bayern from a club with large debts into a commercial and sporting powerhouse and orchestrating the move from the Olympic Stadium in Munich to the brand new Allianz Arena in 2006.
Of course, Hoeness achieved infamy when in March 2014 he was convicted for tax fraud to the value of €30 million, resulting in a two year prison sentence. For many, that took some of the shine off his public image. He resigned as the club stood shoulder to shoulder with him, and was reinstated as president upon his release.
While the club’s run of consecutive Bundesliga titles extended to seven last season, Borussia Dortmund are closing in and the retirements of club legends Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery has raised question marks over whether Bayern are still capable of challenging the very best teams in Europe.
New direction for Bayern?
The current coach, Niko Kovac, was Hoeness’ choice and he delivered the double in his first season. However, the Croatian could be left exposed when Hoeness departs.
Niko Kovac was the choice of Hoeness to become Bayern coach
Rummenigge is likely to wield more power after November and his penchant for Italian coaches — and the availability of former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri — could mean a change in the coaching staff should Bayern falter on the field.
Bayern have made some signings but having missed out on key summer target Leroy Sane and only made the loan signings of Ivan Perisic and Philippe Coutinho in attacking areas, Bayern are still no closer to addressing the depth issues out wide that the deaprture of Ribery and Robben created.
Who is Herbert Hainer?
The man expected to replace Hoeness in November is a veteran CEO, formerly of Adidas.
With Kahn widely expected to join the top table, Hainer could be a safe pair of hands to oversee the transition, and given that he’s already Bayern’s Supervisory Board Chairman, he is a trusted ally of Hoeness and Rummenigge.
Once of the first tasks for 65-year-old Hainer would be to smooth relations with the club’s shareholders, who voiced their criticism of Hoeness for entering into a partnership with Qatar. Bayern’s new chairman will be the club’s AGM in November.
A relationship started in 1970 when Bayern Munich signed an 18-year-old from TSG Ulm 1846 has been brought to an end 49 years on with Uli Hoeness announcing that he will step down as club president having shaped one of the most successful eras in German football history. Former Adidas boss Herbert Hainer, who already holds a position with the German champions, is rumored to be his replacement.
Long before current events, Hoeness the player was a forward who was part of the Bayern team that won both the Bundesliga and the European Cup three times. Playing for West Germany, he won both the EuropeanChampionship and the World Cup. For a few years, Hoeness and Gerd Müller formed one of Europe’s most potent strike forces. However, his playing career was cut short by a knee injury.
After an unsuccessful attempt to come back from the injury while on loan to Nuremberg, Hoeness hung up his boots and became the Bundesliga’s youngest general manager at the tender age of 27 on May 1, 1979. Here he is pictured with then-Bayern President Willi Hoffmann (left) on this third day on the job – when he got his first victory as manager with Bayern winning 3-1 in Darmstadt.
Even before Hoeness became manager, he negotiated a deal with truck maker Magirus-Deutz as Bayern’s jersey sponsor. The funds allowed Bayern to bring West Germany star Paul Breitner back to Munich from Braunschweig in 1978. Here, Breitner is seen holding up the trophy after Bayern won the 1981 Bundesliga title. The two but have recently fallen out over Breitner’s criticism of Bayern’s management.
On February 17, 1982, Uli Hoeness was the sole survivor of the crash of a private jet, while he was on his way to a West German national team friendly. The three other people on board the plane died. Hoeness, who was asleep on the back seat of the plane when it crashed, remembers nothing about it.
Hoeness, the son of a master butcher, started up the HoWe sausage-making company in Nuremberg in 1985, which now supplies major businesses such as Aldi and McDonalds. HoWe, which is where Hoeness made a lot of his money, has been taken over by his son Florian.
After 30 years as general manager, on November 27, 2009, Uli Hoeness moved up in the Bayern Munich hierarchy, winning election at the club’s annual general meeting as its new president. More success would soon follow, with Bayern doing the double that same season and later, beginning in 2012-13, going on a run of six-straight Bundesliga titles.
Hoeness has had his share of personal animosity. A feud with former Cologne and Bayer Leverkusen coach Christoph Daum began when both appeared on a sports talk show. It reached its climax with the cocaine scandal surrounding Daum, who looked set to become Germany coach in 2000. Daum never took up the post after a test on his hair turned up positive for cocaine.
Uli Hoeness won his share of silverware as a player, but has won almost countless titles as an executive. In 2013, Bayern Munich won the treble; the Bundesliga title, the German Cup, and the Champions League. “An unbelieveable year,” said the top club executive, who was still a free man, despite the fact that a warrant for his arrest on tax-evasion charges had already been issued.
March 13, 2014: Hoeness was convicted of evading €28.5 million ($32 million) in taxes and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail. Hoeness began serving his sentence on June 2, 2014, making the fall from grace of a German soccer legend complete.
A day after his conviction, Uli Hoeness resigned as Bayern president, however he would return to the post two and a half years later, winning election at the club’s annual general meeting on November 25, 2016. He was the only candidate after current President Karl Hopfner, who had stood in for him during his time in prison, agreed earlier in the year not to run for re-election.
Hoeness has always there with a helping hand for a friend in need. Clubs like St. Pauli and even rivals Borussia Dortmund have been known to profit from his generosity. He has also reached out to help former teammates like Gerd Müller, who struggled with alcohol, or players Sebastian Deisler who suffered from burnout and Dietmar Hamman, who was stricken with both alcohol and gambling addictions.
For the most part, Uli Hoeness keeps his private life to himself. He has been married to his wife Susanne for more than 40 years and his two children, Sabine and Florian are grown up. Hoeness enjoys a quiet life at home, and there have been no known scandals involving his family.