Ironman brand owner World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) is concentrating its European activities in new European headquarters in Hanau, near Frankfurt. “We want to better meet the needs of our partners and continue to move into the centre of the world economy in Europe,” WTC CEO Andrew Messick is reported to have said.
In tandem with the relocation to central Germany, there are a number of personnel changes.
Rolf Aldag, Ironman’s Managing Director, Germany, is leaving the organisation after less than a year in his post. “I am leaving for personal reasons, because I just do not want my family life further strained by continuous absence,” said Aldag. “Almost 300 kilometres between my home and Hanau are just too much.”
As noted by triathlon blog DNF Is No Option, it is understood that Aldag will return to his roots in professional cycling. He has an extensive background in pro cycling and previously served as the Team Manager of Team HTC-Highroad.
New seat of power for Ironman in Europe
The most notable aspect of the reorganisation of Ironman in Europe is the reshuffling of responsibilities at the very top.
Long-serving Kai Walter – who last year took on the new role of Managing Director, European Operations – has an expanded brief and becomes the lead executive for the Ironman race series across Europe and South Africa.
“I am delighted to be able to take on even more responsibility for the Ironman race series,” said Walter. “Our location close to Frankfurt is ideally suited to cope with our international teams in Europe and South Africa, and the number of pending tasks.”
Meanwhile Stefan Petschnig steps down from his role as Managing Director for Ironman Europe & South Africa. Last July, Stefan Petschnig was appointed Ironman Europe’s Managing Director. At that time he effectively succeeded Kai Walter to oversee and manage the expansion of Ironman in Europe.
“We appreciate the offer of the WTC to exercise our previous roles in Hanau. However, our centre of life and our families are in Klagenfurt; and we have reluctantly made the decision not to go ahead,” said Petschnig.
Helge Lorenz, Ironman Europe’s Managing Director of Business Development, will also not go to Hanau. Both Petschnig and Lorenz have decided in consultation with the WTC to resign from their current European responsibilities.
Petschnig and Lorenz are however taking up more strategic positions within Ironman’s Austrian operations. “It is a farewell with a laughing and a crying eye,” said Lorenz. “Now we have time for that race [Ironman Austria in Klagenfurt], which we ourselves built up before we took our European positions at WTC.”
Together with Georg Hochegger (now TriStar/Star Events) and Helge Lorenz, Stefan Petschnig was a founder at European Ironman event organiser Triangle Events, which managed Ironman races in Austria, France and South Africa. Having establishing Triangle Events in 1997, Petschnig helped to build Ironman Austria, Ironman South Africa and Ironman 70.3 Austria from the ground up.