The appointment of Jan-Christian Dreesen as “CEO” of FC Bayern is a turning point. After club icon Kahn, a pure businessman now takes over. He should bring peace to the record champions – and at the same time he has to rebuild the team.
Jan-Christian Dreesen stepped in front of the microphones on Sunday morning in a conspicuously calm manner. It was his first appearance as a new strong man at FC Bayernafter immediately after the final whistle in Cologne, which sealed the championship, the Dismissal of the leadership duo Oliver Kahn/Hasan Salihamidzic had become known.
Although “new strong man” is not quite correct. Dreesen has been with FC Bayern for ten years – and has had an important role in the club for a long time. That’s what Dreesen said himself: “I’m not the new guy. I’m the new old guy at most.”
In this calm manner – typical for Dreesen – the 55-year-old answered all the questions that flew his way during this tricky press conference. Always level headed, always with the hint of a friendly smile on his face. After the turbulent weeks at Bayern, this is a change from Kahn’s often grim face.
A change that even the more powerful men at FC Bayern seem to have longed for. “I would like to come back to each other more,” said Dreesen, implying that this was no longer the case in the past – i.e. under Kahn / Salihamidzic.
Businessman Dreesen: In the “company” FC Bayern for ten years
With Dreesen, FC Bayern is making a radical U-turn. Kahn, club icon, fan favorite, who as a player embodied the “FC Bayern gene” like no other, is replaced by a pure businessman. Of course, that was Kahn in his second career as an official, but his most important qualification for the job was his past as a Bayern legend. And even as an official, the “Vulkahn”, as he was called as a player because of his tantrums, broke out in the stands from time to time.
You won’t experience anything like that with Dreesen. Not only because the East Frisian has a somewhat calmer disposition by birth. Dreesen is an absolute professional in the conference room, someone who knows the business world very well – and will probably run FC Bayern more like a DAX company than a football club.
How appropriate are the words with which President Herbert Hainer introduced the new “CEO” (Chief Executive Officer): “He has been with the company for ten years,” said Hainer, avoiding the word association. And then he used words like “workforce”, “stability” and “security”.
The “Lord of Numbers” made for big profits
The word “club” nevertheless played a major role in Dreesen’s early career – albeit only as a link between the words “hypo” and “bank”. Dreesen made a career at Hypovereinsbank, became one of the directors and eventually moved to Swiss bank UBS and BayernLB before taking up the post at Bayern Munich in 2013. He succeeded Karl Hopfner as CFO and kept out of the public eye – but pulled the strings in the background, gained influence and earned the nickname “Lord of Numbers”. Because the figures that Dreesen presented year after year at the FC Bayern general meeting were always masterful.
While the players shot their way from title to title on the pitch, Dreesen did his part in the office and – despite high transfer expenses – generated surplus after surplus. During the corona pandemic, the number below the balance sheet line shrank noticeably to “only” 1.9 million euros. But unlike most other football clubs, she stayed black. And the following year, it climbed back into the eight-digit range. 12.7 million was the number that Dreesen presented at the annual general meeting last November and received a standing ovation from the fans.
Disagreements with Kahn and Salihamidzic
But it wasn’t the number that got the Bayern supporters out of their seats – FCB isn’t quite that company after all – it was a thank you to Dreesen, who had announced his resignation shortly beforehand. Despite all his love of numbers, Dreesen always had an open ear for the needs of the fans. Even if it was often just “little things” – like renaming the ticket category “South Stand” to “South Curve”. “We would like to thank you from the entire southern stand for your great cooperation with us. If you are looking for a place in the stadium, you know where to get in touch,” said Fabian Stammberger, a drummer from the southern stand, at the annual general meeting, which was supposed to be Dreesen’s last.
Because Dreesen, who was now the deputy chairman of the board, actually wanted to retire. The reason: his two bosses. It was said at the time that Dreesen’s idea of corporate management and interpersonal communication was fundamentally different from that of Kahn and Salihamidzic. The fact that not only Kahn but also Salihamidzic left the club should have been the basic requirement for the new CEO’s commitment.
With the support of Uli Honess
But Dreesen’s appointment is not just a departure from the premise of appointing ex-players to Bayern’s most important post. It also shows the resurgence of the influence of Uli Hoeneß, who not only had an important say in the appointment of Thomas Tuchel, but now also in the personnel shift on the board. Because Hoeneß is considered a big supporter of Dreesen. In this way, Dreesen was persuaded to accept a promotion instead of resigning. “If something touches your heart, you can change your plans,” said Dreesen at his presentation on Sunday.
Between rest and center forward search
So now Dreesen is leading the fortunes of FC Bayern and will initially have to do without a sports director for the required restructuring of the squad. A difficult task. All the more so since Dreesen is undisputed as a financial expert, but qualification as a football expert is not necessarily on his resume. Dreesen’s second major task will be to make people forget the tumultuous past week. So it was fitting that he spoke a lot about “trust”, “harmony” and “togetherness” in his calm voice at the first press conference.
That should also suit the needs of Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel, who expressed his greatest wish on the BR microphone during the championship celebration: “A little peace”. Not too far behind, however, the word “centre forward” should appear on the coach’s wish list. It remains to be seen whether the Lord of Numbers can fulfill both wishes.
That is the European perspective at BR24.
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Source: BR24Sport on the radio 05/29/2023 – 11:54 a.m