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End of an era: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge steps down as Bayern Munich CEO

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A long chapter comes to an end at Bayern. Will the new management live up to expectations?

FC Bayern Muenchen Annual General Meeting Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

It’s official, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has resigned early from his role as Bayern Munich CEO. The 65-year-old was meant to step down upon the expiry of his contract on December 31, but apparently wanted to complete the handover now during the offseason.

Oliver Kahn will take over as CEO from July 1. Here’s an official confirmation by the club:

Rummenigge explained his decision as follows:

“It is the most strategically sensible and logical time.”

“We’re coming to the end of the financial year, and at the same time a new phase is beginning with a new coaching team. The new season should be the responsibility of Oliver Kahn as the new CEO right from the start — also for the sake of the people involved and thus in terms of the future of FC Bayern.”

“I already said two years ago that we were planning a prudent transition, and it is finally being implemented now. That’s how it should be.”

Having made his mark as a club legend both on and off the pitch, KHR leaves Bayern in a strong position as one of the biggest clubs in the world. Under the combined leadership of him and Uli Hoeness, the first team won numerous Champions League titles including two trebles, and became only the second team in history to win a sextuple.

Rummenigge also kept Bayern out of the mess involving the European Super League, something which he doesn’t get enough credit for. Some very smart football executives fell for that ruse, while KHR kept Bayern firmly on-side with UEFA and the Champions League. While he may sometimes come across as a little cold and/or ruthless, the man has always cared deeply for the club and has done everything he could to enhance its prestige on and off the pitch.

Now, Bayern Munich stands at a crossroads. With Uli and Rummenigge gone, Hansi Flick departing for the DFB, and the departures of veteran players in David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez — next season will be a brand new challenge for a new group of people throughout the system. Oliver Kahn, Herbert Hainer, and Hasan Salihamidzic will take over the running of the club at large, while Julian Nagelsmann will be given stewardship of the first team. Can they reach the same dizzying heights as their predecessors? Only time will tell.