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Prize winner
Published by:
ESMT European School of Management and Technology (2013)
19 February 2013
Revision date:
14 pages
Data source:
Field research


In its 100th year of existence in 2009, Borussia Dortmund (BVB) was the only German soccer club listed on the stock exchange. With three days to go before the annual shareholders' meeting on November 24 of that year, the club's managing directors, Thomas Treb and Hans-Joachim Watzke, went through the year-end figures one more time. Although the situation had improved since 2005 when the club was on the brink of insolvency, the closing accounts once again showed a negative net income. After nine years as a publicly traded company, the BVB had to report its fifth loss, this time for 5.9 million euros, which added up to a cumulative loss of more than 145 million euros. After the passing of a century, many stakeholders were concerned about the way forward. What was the organization's purpose? What was more important, finally making a profit and meeting shareholders' expectations, or playing for the fans and the club's honor? What could the managing directors offer to their shareholders, who had seen the value of their shares drop from 11 euros at the IPO to less than 1 euro in November 2009?

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate and executive education courses.


Accounting; Business ethics; Corporate social responsibility; Defining the purpose of an organization; Shareholder-value maximization versus other purposes; Capitalization of human resources; Valuation of assets; Especially of human capital; The role of human resources in an organization; Stakeholders' interest; Legitimacy of stakeholders' interest


The events covered by this item took place in 2009.

Geographical setting


Featured company

Company name:
Borussia Dortmund (BVB)
EUR 115 million

Featured protagonists

  • Thomas TreƟ (male), Managing Director
  • Hans-Joachim Watzke (male), Managing Director

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Awards, prizes & competitions

2013 - ecch Case Awards - case writing competition hot topic category winner

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