8 December 2022 – The Supervisory Board of DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH has agreed to appoint Axel Hellmann and Oliver Leki as CEOs of DFL GmbH. With immediate effect, the duo will take over the tasks of Donata Hopfen (46), who will step down as CEO at the end of the year. Hellmann and Leki will act as joint CEOs of DFL GmbH, on an interim basis, until 30 June 2023.
The incoming co-CEOs have many years of experience and a broad network in professional football. Axel Hellmann (51) is the CEO and member of the Board at Eintracht Frankfurt Fußball AG as well as a member of the DFL e.V. Executive Committee, to which he was elected at this year’s DFL General Assembly of the clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. Oliver Leki (49) is a member of the Executive Board of Sport-Club Freiburg and, since 2019, has also been 2nd Deputy Speaker of the Executive Committee of DFL e.V., as well as Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of DFL GmbH.
Hellmann, a lawyer, has been a Board member at Eintracht Frankfurt Fußball AG since 2012. He has been CEO of the current UEFA Europa League champion since April 2021, responsible among other things for media and communication, sales and marketing as well as internationalisation. Hellmann is also in charge of the club’s overall strategy. Leki, who studied business administration, worked for the consulting firms Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young, before working for 1. FC Köln in various roles, most recently as Managing Director. In 2013, he joined Sport-Club Freiburg as Managing Director, and since October 2014 has been the club’s Chief Financial, Organisation and Marketing Officer. He is also Vice President of the German Football Association (DFB).
Hellmann and Leki will also continue to perform their roles at their respective clubs. The Supervisory Board of DFL GmbH will consider the future framework of the DFL management as of summer 2023 in a structured process over the next few months.
“We thank Axel Hellmann and Oliver Leki for assuming this responsibility at a time when important changes are being made in German professional football. My thanks also go to Eintracht Frankfurt and SC Freiburg, who have shown solidarity by making this joint management solution possible in the first place,” said Hans-Joachim Watzke (63) in his role as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of DFL GmbH. “By virtue of their current roles, Mr Hellmann and Mr Leki are very familiar with the structure of the DFL, with key matters and projects, and with the management, the employees and the work of the subsidiaries. I am confident that they will use their experience and expertise to successfully tackle the present challenges, working together with the team of the DFL in the best interests of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. To avoid any conflicts of interest, appropriate measures are being taken, for instance with regards to licensing, organisation of the competition and confidential club documents.”