MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) – Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich’s president who revolutionised German football management but was also jailed for tax evasion, stepped down on Friday, handing over the reins of the country’s most successful club to former Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer.
With a record turnover topping 750 million euros for 2018/19, Hoeness is leaving the club in stellar financial health, having taken over a struggling club in 1979 as general manager and turning it to a global brand.
His departure marks the end of an era for Bayern with the former world champion and European Cup winner having been involved as player, manager or president since 1970.
“It worked well here. I won almost everything that could be won.” he told a packed indoor arena after a minutes-long standing ovation.
“For me the club always had to have people at the centre and that is what I tried to do,” he said. “It was a wonderful time. That’s it. I am done and thank you.”
Bayern’s annual turnover for 2018-19 topped 750 million euros, up from 657.4 million euros the previous fiscal year.
EBITDA rose to 146.1 million euros, up from 136.5 million the previous season.
The 1974 World Cup winner, Hoeness, served the club as a player from 1970-1979 and took over as general manager, and later president, immediately after his playing career was cut short by injuries.
Outspoken and blunt, Hoeness did not only make friends as he helped Bayern become the richest and most successful club in the country and a powerhouse in Europe that has won five continental crowns.
Hoeness, 67, was reelected in 2016 after being jailed for multi-million euro tax evasion, a crime he admitted to German judges.
He was convicted in March 2014 for evading 28.5 million euros in taxes through a Swiss bank account, and with his reputation in tatters, the once mighty manager started his jail term in June 2014.
He served half of his 3-1/2-year term before being released and returning to win re-election in 2016.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann)