Kahn: ‘Crisis situations have a tendency to accelerate development’

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2020 has been a challenging year for FC Bayern with the coronavirus pandemic, but the club has overcome everything to win the second treble in its history. It means the bar for the coming months is high. Going into 2021, leading figures at Germany’s record champions spoke to club magazine “51” about what’s to come. In the sixth of seven parts, we sat down with board member Oliver Kahn.

Interview with Oliver Kahn

To what extent can you plan for the long term in crisis situations? How do you do that?
“Crisis situations have a tendency to accelerate development. That’s why it’s key to focus on the opportunities in order to emerge stronger from such a period. You mustn’t neglect looking towards the future because of the short-term challenges you have to deal with intensively. When you have a long-term goal and a competent team around you, it’s all easier.”


What have you learnt in your first year on the board at FC Bayern? What’s surprised you?
“First and foremost, I was pleased to get to know my new colleagues and staff at FCB. It was only thanks to their support that I was able to gain a detailed and in-depth understanding of the club’s structures, which have grown so sharply, in such a short period of time. And surprised? Hmm… I was surprised by the fact that everything here still revolves around football (grins).”

What sort of people are needed in a crisis?
“Special leadership qualities are required, especially in a crisis. It’s about showing empathy for the concerns and needs of people in an exceptional situation, and at the same time making clear decisions. It needs characters who can continue to provide guidance despite the unpredictability of events and the stresses of day-to-day business.”


You initiated the project FC Bayern AHEAD. What’s there to say about that?
“This project serves to keep pace with the ever-increasing speed of change in our world, which doesn’t stop at football. For us, FC Bayern AHEAD means thinking ahead so that FC Bayern can maintain its pioneering role in the future. We don’t want to be a passive part of change, but actively and purposefully help shape innovations. It’s the only way we can ensure that we remain among the world leaders in the future.”

What does the year 2021 mean to you, at the end of which there will be the big handover between you and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge?
“For me personally, 2020 was already a year of change with many challenges and new impressions, in an environment that is fortunately very familiar to me. The handover is in full swing and will result in a seamless transition at the end of 2021. This position and the future work are a great honour for me. Setting up this club so that it can continue to enjoy the greatest success in the future, while remaining an inclusive part of society, is the ultimate goal for all of us.”

In the fifth part of our “Big questions” series, we spoke to board member for internationalisation and strategy Jörg Wacker.

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