Philip Holzer no longer chairman of the supervisory board

“For me, the time to communicate this long-standing decision came when I qualified again for an international competition”: Philip Holzer

There is a change of power at the top of Eintracht Frankfurt Fußball AG. Philip Holzer, who has headed the supervisory board for four years, will resign from his position at the board’s next meeting this Tuesday and will step down from the club’s highest control body on June 30th.

He had been a member since 2010 and took over its management on June 28, 2020. Early on Saturday evening, around half an hour after the Eintracht game, which had secured sixth place in the table and renewed qualification for European competition with a 2-2 draw against RB Leipzig on the last Bundesliga matchday, the club communicated the decision.

Holzer, the statement said, had previously informed Mathias Beck, the president of the main shareholder Eintracht Frankfurt eV, all other members of the supervisory board and the four board members of Eintracht Frankfurt Fußball AG about his decision in a “personal conversation”.

“For me it’s a logical consequence”

“For me, the time to communicate this long-standing decision came when I qualified again for an international competition. Within the next few months, Eintracht Frankfurt Fußball AG will have to make important strategic and personnel decisions, the effects of which will extend far beyond my term of office, which runs until summer 2025,” Holzer was quoted as saying.

And it continued: “For this reason, it is a logical consequence for me that these are made and designed by the group of people who will continue to be responsible in the future.” The time had come for him to “pass the baton hand over”. Fußball AG will end the year 2023/2024 with record sales and “stabilize the equity of 80 million euros back to the pre-Corona level” – these are “the best signs for the continuation of healthy growth”.

In addition to Holzer and Beck, the nine-member supervisory board of Fußball AG currently includes Hans-Dieter Brenner, Dieter Burkert, Sven Janssen, Claudio Montanini, Stephen Orenstein, Moritz Theimann and Felix Wirmer.

How the succession should be regulated is currently unclear. This will be discussed on Tuesday, it was announced in the statement. There are numerous voices within the club that say that “logically” Beck, who was only accepted by the members of the e. V. was elected as Peter Fischer’s successor as Eintracht President and is therefore the highest representative of the majority shareholder, and will also take on this position in the future. According to the plan, the term of office of the former investment banker Holzers, who previously worked as co-head of Goldman Sachs Germany, would not have ended until 2025.

“We very much regret leaving”

Beck said he “respects” Holzer’s actions. His “services to Eintracht Frankfurt are huge”. He has “proven at all times that his heart beats for Eintracht in its entirety – with all its departments and sports. We very much regret Philip Holzer’s departure.”

In spring 2023 there was a week-long dispute between AG board spokesman Axel Hellmann and Holzer, which, among other things, dealt with different opinions on capital measures and the question of how a supervisory board chairman should interpret his role. In the wake of the conflict, which put the club through a tough test, Holzer offered to resign. He justified this at the time with the “position that the well-being of the association (eV and AG) is more important in all situations than the interests of individual people”. At the same time, he contradicted the allegations made against him.

Hellmann announced shortly afterwards that he would fulfill his contract with Eintracht until mid-2027; after there had previously been speculation that he might leave Eintracht due to difficulties working with Holzer. He did not accept the offer that was available at the time to fully take over the interim position as Managing Director of the German Football League, which he had been temporarily carrying out in parallel since December 2022.

At the beginning of last month, Holzer, who largely withdrew from the public eye after the conflict last year, prematurely extended AG sports director Markus Krösche’s contract, which runs until the summer of 2025, by a further three years until mid-2028, thereby extending Krösche’s position for all sports Affairs strengthened.

Capable of acting in the Corona crisis

It will be exciting to see how Holzer’s departure from the supervisory board will affect the ownership structure of the AG. Together with Orenstein, his friend and colleague on the supervisory board, Holzer owns 16.81 percent of Eintracht shares under the name “Friends of the Eagle”; This makes you the largest of several minority shareholders. With 67.8 percent, the parent club Eintracht Frankfurt is the majority shareholder.

Holzer and Orenstein increased their share, acquired by paying 15 million euros in 2019, as part of a further equity increase in April 2021. At that time, a new shareholder, Janssen, who represented “Freunde des Adlers GmbH”, was added and secured 5.0 percent of the shares. The total amount that Eintracht received at the time was 22 million euros, of which Jansen contributed five million euros.

The money made a significant contribution to remaining able to act and continue the economic growth despite the debt burden of 80 million euros resulting from the Corona crisis. Months ago, Orenstein and Holzer made a statement to Eintracht that they were willing to sell around a third of the shares if the club found a buyer. So far a deal has not been concluded.

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