26.11.2021Bayer 04

Rolfes named sporting managing director – Völler is member of shareholder committee and club ambassador.

Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen are setting course for the future. The previous sporting director Simon Rolfes will take over the position as sporting managing director from 1 July 2022. He replaces Rudi Völler whose contract as managing director ends in the summer of 2022. After three years as sporting director, Rolfes will work alongside Fernando Carro, the chairman of the board. Rudi Völler will continue to provide advice and support to the Werkself in the future after his departure from operational responsibility. The 1990 World Cup winner will be a member of the shareholders committee from 1 July 2022 and he will also represent Bayer 04 as a club ambassador.

Werner Wenning, chair of the shareholders committee: "I’m very happy we have been able to find a highly qualified successor for this key position from our own ranks in Simon Rolfes. He has the Bayer DNA, stands out with his deep specialist and market knowledge and has an excellent network as a former international and long-standing captain of the Werkself. We are fully convinced that he will prove successful in the sporting future of Bayer 04 together with his team.” Wenning added: "We are also very happy that Rudi Völler will remain in close contact with Bayer 04 Leverkusen as a member of the shareholders committee and also as an ambassador. We are very grateful to him for his commitment and expertise over all the years. He is an outstanding personality in German sport and he has written a very notable part of the club’s history with his many years of work at the club.”

Carro on Rolfes: We complement each other very well

Fernando Carro said: "I really appreciate working together with Simon Rolfes. We complement each other very well and both have the ambition to further develop this outstandingly structured club and, together with all our members of staff, set it up to succeed in the future. I would also like to thank Rudi Völler. He is one of the main reasons why I was able to find my feet so quickly in Leverkusen and in the business of football. Bayer 04 has benefited very much from his football expertise and his experience – and that will continue in the future with this new setup.”

Simon Rolfes said on his appointment as sporting managing director: "I’d like to say thank you for the confidence shown in me. It’s an honour for me to be able to take on even more responsibility for this club who I have much to thank for. But I expressly see this not as a reward but rather as a mission and inspiration to further develop and improve all the sporting aspects at Bayer 04. We have a lot to do. I’d also like to thank Rudi Völler who I have learned a lot from, which is important for being a good football manager.”

Völler: Wonderful and equally exciting challenge

Rudi Völler previously announced his early departure from operational activities at the Bundesliga club. The 61-year-old in the summer of 2022: "It's a wonderful and equally exciting task for me to be able to support my club in achieving its ambitious targets in the future from behind the scenes. Thank you too for the long term and very friendly partnership with Werner Wenning, who always had great confidence in my previous positions at Bayer 04. I have an equally close and trusting relationship with Fernando Carro and Simon Rolfes at the top of the club. Everybody at Bayer 04, and the Werkself fans of course, can rely on me to represent our common interests on the shareholders committee and in representative duties at home and abroad.”

Rudi Völler signed for Leverkusen as a player from Olympique Marseille in 1994. He played up front for Bayer 04 for two seasons before ending his playing career in 1996. Völler took over the role as sporting director at the Werkself before becoming the Germany coach in 2000. In 2002 he took Germany to the World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea where they ended as runners-up. Völler ended his time as coach of the German national team following the 2004 European Championships in Portugal. After a spell as coach at AS Roma, the Hanau-born footballer worked as the sporting director under the Bayer Cross from January 2005 to June 2018 before taking up the newly created post as sporting managing director.

Rolfes: over 13 years at Bayer 04

Simon Rolfes, born in Ibbenbüren in Westphalia, started his playing career at Werder Bremen. He won the double with the Hanseatic club in 2004 and, after a year at Alemannia Aachen, he signed for Bayer 04 in 2005. There followed 377 appearances for the Werkself (49 goals). During his time under the Bayer Cross, he made his debut for Germany, won 26 international caps, took part in the European Championships in 2008 and was named an honorary captain the Werkself after the end of his playing career. In 2015 he headed two companies, worked as a football pundit for ZDF and also completed a two-year UEFA course, Master for international Players (MIP). Rolfes returned to Leverkusen in the summer of 2018. He started as head of the youth and development and from 1 December 2018 the now 39-year-old has been the sporting director at Bayer 04.

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