Former Saatchi Boss to Bid for World Cup Broadcast Rights

16 September 2002

Whatever happened to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the charismatic Frenchman whose hand was on the management tiller at Saatchi & Saatchi back in the agency’s glory days of the late 80s-early 90s?

He is alive and well and living in Davos – to say nothing of Paris and the Cote D’Azur according to season. Having moved on from Saatchi in 1993 to become chairman of the board and controlling shareholder at German sportswear giant Adidas, he stepped down in 2001 and is these days a wealthy speculator scanning the solar system for the next alchemic opportunity.

Last week the Louis-Dreyfus radar homed in on KirchSport, the unit of the defunct Kirch Gruppe media empire that holds the global broadcast rights to the World Cup soccer tournament in 2006. Louis-Dreyfus, an unreconstructed soccer fan and former chairman of Marseilles football club, is to back a management buyout of KirchSport from its bankrupt parent.

Soccer governing body FIFA has the right to block the sale of KirchSport to any bidder of which it disapproves but, according to insiders, Louis-Dreyfus is persona very much grata with soccer’s ruling gnomes who gained much from his sponsorship support in his Adidas days.

The great man himself is saying nothing and is, his office claims, travelling and unable to comment.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff