German soccer leagues to have 1st female CEO next year

Germany’s top two soccer divisions will have a female chief executive for the first time next year.

Donata Hopfen is to take over from outgoing German soccer league (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert on a three-year contract from January 2022, the governing body said Saturday.

“Hopfen is the right personality for one of the most important positions in German soccer. In a time of change, she has all the qualities and the assertiveness to lead the DFL on behalf of the clubs of the Bundesliga and second division into an ongoing successful future,” said supervisory board chairman Peter Peters.

The 45-year-old Hopfen is currently managing director of a corporate investment firm and she previously spent 14 years at the Axel Springer media group, including as managing director of the Bild tabloid group.

“I am already looking forward to tackling current and future challenges, together with the clubs and the DFL team,” Hopfen was quoted as saying.

Peters said the DFL could benefit from Hopfen’s “extensive experience in media and digitalization.”

Seifert was initially to remain in charge through June 2022 but he agreed with the DFL to end the contract earlier than planned. The DFL said he will remain available to provide advice as required to the new management.

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