Olaf Schröder, chief executive at German media heavyweight Sport1 Medien, is leaving the company with immediate effect amid a major restructuring of its senior leadership.
Robin Seckler and Matthias Kirschenhofer have been announced as the new co-chief executives. They will reorganize the media group, which includes the Sport1 sports broadcaster, into five separate divisions.
The management of these “profit centers” will report to Seckler and Kirschenhofer.
The new divisions are for Sport1 Digital; free TV, pay TV, new business, and production (including the Plazamedia production firm).
As part of the reshuffle, Pit Gottschalk is leaving the company. He was previously the editor-in-chief at Sport1 and a member of the senior management team.
Sport1 Medien, which is owned by Highlight Communications, has said a successor “will be announced shortly.”
In terms of the new chief executives, Seckler has been chief digital officer at Sport1 Medien since February last year and “responsible for all the group’s digital activities and projects.”
He first joined Sport1 Medien in January 2013, having previously been director of business operations at the commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1.
In parallel with his new role, he will continue as a member of the directors’ board at Chameleo, a digital business consulting platform also owned by Highlight.
Kirschenhofer, meanwhile, was appointed as a Sport1 Medien board member in September 2017. He is currently the managing director of both Sport1 and Magic Sports Media.
He first joined the previous incarnation of Sport1 Medien (Deutsches SportFernsehen) in January 2001 and spent six years between 2007 and 2013 as the media group’s general counsel.
In his role as a board member, he is responsible for legal, compliance, finance, and investor relations.
In a joint statement, the new Sport1 co-chief execs have said: “We have both known each other and worked together for more than a decade. As a team, we will now make Sport1 Medien more efficient and powerful.
“Together, we will drive change to release energy and creativity and strengthen our competitiveness. In addition to our established core business, we will focus on expanding our digital activities in the future and establish new business areas based on our high-reach platforms.”
Bernhard Burgener, chair of the Sport1 Medien advisory board, added: “The significantly changed general conditions make it necessary to realign and focus more strongly on the digital business and establish new business areas.
“We are looking forward to tackling this step with the new co-chief executives. With Mr. Seckler and Dr. Kirschenhofer, Sport1 Medien will in the future be led by two experienced media managers.”
Schröder commented: “I was able to lead the company with its dedicated team on its way to becoming a multichannel sports platform. I thank the supervisory board for this and know that the company and team are in good hands.”
In terms of its top-tier sports rights, Sport1 covers domestic soccer’s DFB Pokal cup competition (both men’s and women’s editions), French soccer’s top-tier Ligue 1, as well as premium live action from the worlds of tennis, ice hockey, darts, motorsport, and basketball.
In mid-March, it extended its broadcast partnership with German esports competitions organizer ESL by two years.