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Breaking: Hans-Joachim Watzke to Retire as Borussia Dortmund CEO in 2025

After 20 years at the helm, Aki Watzke is ready to step away from BVB and let the club enter a new era.

UEFA EURO 2024 Final Tournament Draw Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

Hans-Joachim Watzke has officially announced that he will not renew his contract as Borussia Dortmund’s CEO, and will leave his position in the autumn of 2025. The news has been reported by Patrick Berger and Jesco von Eichmann.

BVB’s CEO has been a fixture at the club since 2005, and was instrumental in steering Borussia Dortmund out of severe financial difficulties and into a new era. During Watzke’s tenure, BVB went from being at risk of going out of business to cementing themselves as the second biggest team in Germany, winning two Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokals, and reaching a Champions League final in that time. In recent years, Watzke has risen to senior roles in both the DFB and DFL, and is often referred to as the most powerful person in German football today.

Despite this success, Watzke’s role as CEO has come under fire in recent years, as the club has stagnated, in part due to some questionable decisions being made at the very top. Whether or not Watzke’s decision is a result of the growing unrest about his position is unclear at this point.

This is definitely good news for BVB. It has felt like Watzke is holding the club back for a while now, and the mess Dortmund has made of this season seems to be his doing more than anyone else’s. But there should be no mistaking the role that Watzke has played in making Borussia Dortmund what it is today. He may have stayed a few years too many, but the lofty expectations that fans have of the club are in no small part because of the job that Hans-Joachim Watzke did steering BVB from the brink of bankruptcy to being one of the biggest clubs in Europe.

Borussia Dortmund Party - DFB Cup Final Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images

Fans should be pleased that the club is ready to enter a new era, but they should also recognize the huge role that Watzke has played at Borussia Dortmund. Watzke is one of the most important people in the history of BVB, and will go down as a legend at Westfalenstadion, when all is said and done. Heja BVB!