Infront, part of the Wanda Sports Group, has announced a reorganisation of its structure to align it with its future business needs. According to the company, this is consistent with the overall structure and strategic direction of the Wanda Sports Group.
The transformation follows the initial public offering of Wanda Sports Group. There are two anticipated changes in top management and extended responsibilities for Infront President & CEO Philippe Blatter as Vice-Chairman of Wanda Sports Group.
Upcoming personnel changes
Wolfgang Streit, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice-President Finance, Legal & Administration, has decided that the opening of a new chapter in Infront’s history post-IPO is the right time for him to take on a fresh challenge and will be leaving the company in the fourth quarter of 2019. However, Streit will continue to serve Infront in a consultancy capacity and select board membership roles.
Claude Ruibal, Senior Vice-President Digital, Production and Sport Solutions (DPSS), is retiring from the company as of 31 December 2019 to pursue new projects.
Infront’s optimised organisational structure
As of 1 October 2019, Infront will be structured around a strengthened Group Management Board (GMB) with nine new members – all appointed internally – and a newly formed Executive Committee (ExCo). Both committees will be led by Philippe Blatter who will continue to serve as Infront’s President & CEO.
The GMB will continue to develop and implement Infront’s strategy and oversee all business operations, while the ExCo, which is composed of the key functions and responsibilities relevant for Wanda Sports Group, will have an additional focus on driving integration and synergies within Wanda Sports Group.
Overall, Infront will have four operational Business Units. These are:
- Spectator Sports Media & Marketing, under the direction of Bruno Marty (SVP, GMB/ ExCo). The unit brings together all existing sports units, including Football (Stephan Herth, SVP, GMB), Summer Sports (Julien Ternisien, SVP, GMB), Winter Sports (Stefan Krauss, VP, GMB), dedicated new functions for Media Sales & Operations (Amikam Kranz, VP, GMB) and Marketing Sales (Michael Witta, VP, GMB) as well as Brands 360 (David Cipullo, VP, GMB) and Sports Services (Sven Biner, Director);
- Personal & Corporate Fitness – this unit brings together all mass participation businesses of the Infront Group and will continue to be led by Hans-Peter Zurbrügg (SVP, GMB/ExCo);
- Production, led by Dan Miodownik, CEO of HBS (GMB/ExCo);
- IX.co, headed by CEO Christoph Heimes (GMB/ExCo), overseeing Infront’s digital business and providing a strong digital solutions platform for WSG.
The newly formed People, Innovation & Corporate Services unit will be overseen by Dr Christian Müller (SVP, GMB/ExCo) and includes the responsibility for Corporate Services – Structuring & Tax (Michel Brändli, VP, GMB), HR & Administration, IT and Procurement, Business Development (Joel Speier, VP, GMB), Infront Lab and Virtual Sports, as well as a new coordination function for all group companies.
The Finance unit will be led by Sönke Ziebell (VP, GMB/ExCo). Dr Thomas Oehninger (SVP, GMB/ExCo) will continue to act as General Counsel in charge for the Legal, Regulatory & Compliance, the Strategic Communications unit will be headed by Jörg Polzer (VP, GMB/ExCo).
Philippe Blatter said “In our first major structural reorganisation since 2006 we have formed a solid basis for Infront’s future success. It not only provides us with a great deal of stability and continuity within Infront’s leadership team, but also increases operational efficiency now that each operational business unit will have a homogeneous business model, segmented customer approach and specific management and revenue focus.”
Addressing the outgoing GMB members Wolfgang Streit and Claude Ruibal, Blatter added “Wolfgang has played a crucial role in Infront’s success story right from the inception of the company back in 2002, helping Infront to develop into a leading global sports marketing company. We owe him considerable acknowledgement and a huge debt of gratitude for a job expertly done.
“Claude has played a key role in strengthening the digital, broadcast, production and service capabilities of Infront. His contribution, collaboration and insight over the years as a GMB member, were and always will be appreciated. We are truly grateful for his significant achievements for Infront.”
The transformation of the organisational structure will be completed by 1 January 2020.