Thomas Jackermeier Dismissed From Fanatec CEO Role

Developing - Thomas Jackermeier Dismissed As Fanatec CEO.jpg
The original funder of parent company Endor AG and CEO of Fanatec has been seemingly dismissed.

Images: OverTake

The inimitable founder and CEO of Fanatec, Thomas Jackermeier, is set to depart his post at the top of the German sim racing equipment manufacturer.

Parent company Endor AG, which trades publicly on the Munich, Hamburg and Stuttgart stock exchanges, issued a brief statement yesterday (28th Mach) announcing the change.

“Today, the supervisory board of Endor AG has decided on the dismissal of CEO Thomas Jackermeier, effective at the end of March 30, 2024, thereby fulfilling a key condition set by the lending banks for the extension of the standstill agreement until June 30, 2024,” reads the brief statement, submitted by Matthias Kosch, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Board Member.

Here, it appears that Endor (Fanatec) claims that Jackermeier's departure is directly linked to a loan standstill agreement – whereby, typically, a repayment schedule on existing loans is halted under the proviso of certain requirements.

Fanatec F1 Cockpit.jpg


In a separate statement released earlier on the 28th, the Landshut-based company explained that it was “in negotiations with lending banks regarding a standstill agreement until June 30, 2024” and that the “standstill agreement is subject to conditions.”

Several key changes have happened recently to Endor’s Supervisory Board. Kosch replaced Andras Semsey as CFO at the end of last year, and Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Oliver F. Gosemann, resigned in February 2024.

A 27-Year Legacy​


The stewards of the Fanatec brand first listed publicly on 27th June 2006 and, according to Endor AG, Jackermeier owns “around 50 %” of the company’s shares.

He is credited with founding the business in 1997, with its first steering wheel, the ‘Le Mans’, hitting the market in 1998.

The name ‘Endor’ is a reference to the Forest Moon of Endor in the Star Wars film Return of the Jedi.

“When I started this business 25 years ago, I had absolutely no idea where this would end up now,” said Jackermeier to invited media during quarter-century anniversary celebrations in 2022 at Spa Francorchamps.

“I mean just look around, as I walk through the [24 Hours of Spa] paddock and you see the Fanatec logo everywhere, these are the things you cannot imagine – and believe me, I have quite some vision.”

Fanatec Stand, ADAC SimRacing Expo 2022.jpg

Fanatec Stand, ADAC SimRacing Expo 2022

Recently, Fanatec has suffered product delays and slow shipments, in particular surrounding Black Friday deals and new lines such as the DD+ wheel base.

Endor’s financial year aligns with the calendar year, and at the time of publication, its Q4 2023 results have not been published. Earlier this year it issued a revised earnings forecast warning of potentially reduced revenues and a negative EBITDA margin for the 2023 financial year. This was marked down to what it called “supply chain disruptions.”

However, its outlook for 2024 was positive, projecting increased revenues and earnings as recently as February.

Update - 30th March 2024​


Endor AG published a further statement on the 29th March, clarifying (in German, translated to English) that Jackermeier will remain active at Fanatec "in another capacity" and that the Supervisory Board will appoint a Chief Restructuring Officer as per the bank's request.

According to the company, this will be to make use of his industry contacts, product management and strategic partnerships.

"In order to secure the financial future of the company and come to a future-oriented agreement with the lending banks, we are forced to reorganize the management team," said Siegfried Stieger, Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

"We will continue to push ahead with the optimisations that have been ongoing in the company since the appointment of the remaining board members and initiate a comprehensive restructuring with the prompt support of a CRO."

Fanatec M-Sport Rally WRC Wheel Button Module.jpg


A "comprehensive restructuring" could mean further changes aside from a fresh chief executive, a restructuring that Jackermeier is expected to help CFO Kosch organise.

"At the same time, it is crucial for us to keep the founder Thomas Jackermeier active in the company. No one in the sim racing market has a comparable network and feel for market trends. I am very pleased that Thomas has agreed to take on his new role," summarised Stieger.

We have reached out for further comment. A succession plan is not publicly known, although we’ll update this article should Fanatec issue additional information.
About author
Thomas Harrison-Lord
A freelance sim racing, motorsport and automotive journalist. Credits include Autosport Magazine, Motorsport.com, RaceDepartment, Overtake, Traxion and TheSixthAxis.

Comments

The shipping problems came from their European shop, didn't they? I ordered stuff from their North American shop last Summer and then placed a smaller order last Fall and everything arrived in time and without problems.
 
The shipping problems came from their European shop, didn't they? I ordered stuff from their North American shop last Summer and then placed a smaller order last Fall and everything arrived in time and without problems.
If so then fair enough. Just thought it seemed like a coincedence.
 
Still waiting for my black friday order.

I don't get what some of you people say fanatec should go back to what it was. Or that they have lost their way. They have always been really bad and misleading with shipping paid orders. Ever since my first order 15 years ago it has always been the same issues. Web store stock numbers not meaning anything at all. They say they have stock. Then they just say they actually don't. They don't tell you this unless you send them an email and specifically ask about your order.

Support always responding with one liners that turn out to be false. "Your order is being shipped this week". It wasn't when I ask again 2 weeks later. They have done this with every single order I've made over the last 15 years. Support straight out lying to your face about shipping your orders now immediatelly asap and then 2 weeks later when you ask again they are waiting because they don't have anything to ship.

Or they can't ship it because they don't have one part of the order. Then when it arrives some product is missing anyways that will be delivered later. The loop starts from the beginning. Don't have it. Will be available x months from now. Won't. Ask months later. "Will ship it this week". Nothing 2 weeks later.

Zero communication despite massive delays. Just playing time and focusing on announcing new things to sell when the orders of the last 6 months are still being made in china.

This is what they have been always.

Thank goodness I have never had to deal with their support and faulty items. While the buying experience has always been always horrible the physical things have always worked and lasted. That being said I won't ever buy fanatec anymore. It is luck of the draw
 
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Finally it was time! His incompetence from spending too much money on motorsports marketing while customer service and order delivery sucked... was now unacceptable.:mad::mad:
I myself ordered 2 Podium Hubs on January 18, 2024 and still today (March 29, 2024) I have not seen the shadow of a package. I hope they didn't actually give me a "package". We hope that now with the new CEO the situation will improve significantly. :thumbsup::thumbsup:
 
Premium
Really? For a long, long time I've been wondering how they were still in business. The company has operated like a clown show for years. But even so, their ardent fans kept praising them with comments like "I've literally never had a single problem with my Fanatec gear, and my three RMAs went smoothly, only taking a month or two." People even posted "Thank you so much, Fanatec!" threads on Reddit simply because they received their order in 14 days. The "reality distortion field" attributed to Steve Jobs comes to mind.

And it's much worse than only the CEO and a couple of members of the board stepping back. They have had a Chief Restructuring Officer appointed, which, AFAIK, means they are very close to bankruptcy.
I haven't paid that much attention to Fanatec recently... At least not beyond if I would buy something from them again. My answer became a hard no when getting the QR2 meant I had to pay $60 or $100 more for any wheel they have listed on their storefront. Once I seen that I would have to pay more because of the QR2, I stopped paying the company attention so, yeah... this is a genuine surprise for me.

As for the company circling the drain, I didn't know about this either. It makes sense seeing how they slid on the stock market and also based on how consumer sentiment turned against them.
 
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Premium
“Business man hat on”. Looking through their accounts and stock valuation they’re doing ok. Certainly not at imminent risk of going bankrupt. What it does look like is they borrowed some large sums to expand the range and grow the business. This is where I think they’ve had issues. I would guess Thomas has done a great job of zero to small business, but small business to big business his leadership has failed to deliver.
The banks and investors are now looking to restructure the organisation and bring in fresh leadership to take the business where it should be.

This is not at all unusual, a small business and a large business a more very different beats. I suspect Thomas was too involved and wouldn’t let go of areas of the business to other managers. Often the case with business owners for whom the company is their baby. Product delays have been bad, but the total lack of getting their customer service in order after over 6 months is unforgivable. The reputational damage of this has been huge and will take a lot to turn around.

It's pretty clear that the rest of the share holders and the bank ran out of patience for his promises of fixing all the issues. He still owns half the business so he'll still be getting big money from fanatec, just not his CEO wage packet.

I use fanatec kit (CSL DD Pro, McLaren GT3 wheel, Clubsport Pedals), but I'm not blind to how seemingly bad the business has been run over recent years.
 
I used Fanatec from the Porsche GT3 RS wheel, CSP V2s to the CSW 2.5 and V3's and finally said enough. Never really had any issues other than I don't like crappy companies. Their constant pre-order BS led me to believe they were financing production runs with pre-order money, and the constant refusal to admit fault put me in the never again category.

I now use Simucbe, Heusinkveld, Cube Controls, Ascher and have a simagic shifter. ALL of these companies are magnitudes better in product and support.
 
Premium
Their constant pre-order BS led me to believe they were financing production runs with pre-order money.

I can't disagree with your other comments, but this is what pre-orders are actually for. Early adopters with pre orders fund the first production run and help with understanding demand.
 
I see a plot afoot. Fanatec is overextended. So Fanatec announces an unreal Black Friday sale. Prices are slashed, in some cases, 50%. People go nuts and buy out everything. Little do they know that manufacturers have stopped producing Fanatec gear because the bills are not being paid.

Fanatec takes the money from the sale and pays some of the manufacturers. Still, it will take a while to ramp up production. So now comes the "stall" game. Pretend to ship orders, tell the customers that they have the wrong order number, don't respond to them.

Meanwhile, some customers cancel orders. Uh oh. Now money is really getting tight. They go to a bank for a loan. They get the loan. Orders still aren't being filled. Money flying out of the door. The bank says, "where's our loot"? Fanatec says, " I will gladly pay you next Thursday for a hamburger today".

Banks turn gangster. They tell Fanatec, "Ok bud, here is what is going to happen. Dude is going to walk out that door. No fanfare, no resistance. Just out. Then we are going to look at what assets we can sell since we know you are now in trouble".

Board has no real recourse. The scam is up.

This information has not been verified by an independent source. I just thought I would wing it. :whistling:
 
With a share price that has tumbled over the past 12 months and a CEO with 50% share dismissed, I'd say it's fair to say Fanatec is in trouble. They turn over around 120m EU and employ around 140 people and this number has dropped over that past 12 months.
 
I hope it's not just because of the Black Friday Fiasco. The products are overpriced toys, the costumer support is laughable, their policy is "**** the costumer : We're FANATEC". Right now 2 weeks to reply to an email, and the reply is usually another stall. Third time I need support under warranty, always the same experience. I hope they are sold for parts. And cheap.
 
Premium
I live in Canada. I have Fanatec gear and I have never experienced delays while ordering gear from Fanatec USA in California even during the pandemic. So, I am a bit blindsided by that announcement. Furthermore, I am even more surprised that this is happening right now since Fanatec is so involved in sponsoring sim racing e-sports and real motorsport disciplines like Blancpain GT World, F1 e-sports and the like. So, I am puzzled that, on one hand, that company was spending tons of money in sponsorship while the most basic business functions like manufacturing and shipping were not properly addressed. This sounds like a string of unforced errors.
 
Good riddance I say, his arrogance and blase attitude towards his customers was deplorable. I sold my last bit of fanatec gear last week after deciding I did not want to support this disgraceful company any more, even though I never had any problems with their hardware. Moved over to simagic and could not be happier. I have no sympathy at all for him or his company and their deplorable business antics.
 
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Isn't it funny how they were very good at taking customers money, holding it and not delivering product all the while stalling and stringing them along promising something would come later, then months later eventually delivering, maybe. Whether it be the Black Friday sales or the Podium DD 'launch'. It's like they are treating customers like an interest free loan. Get the money up front, then in a few months make the product and deliver it.

They are also borrowing a lot of money and struggling to pay it back. What a coincidence.

Worth noting, selling something when you know you can't supply it in a reasonable time frame without disclosing it first, is unlawful in Australia and I would hope in most the developed world
 
At the beginning of 2024, unaware of their problems, I ordered a set of pedals. A couple of months later I still hadn't received them. I requested an order cancellation and got no reply, I tried to contact them multiple times without any success. They finally ended up sending me a tracking number, the order seems to have been picked up and reached UPS services, but when there I got the information that a disruption had occurred and the order was returned back to Fanatec. I can only guess they probably never paid UPS for the delivery and UPS cancelled it (but I'm just guessing). I finally wrote to them and said I was filing a complaint against them with EU Consumer Protection (which I did). They finally contacted me telling me they would issue a refund and a few weeks later I finally got my money back and ended this nightmare. Conclusion: I'll never again touch this company, not even with a two-mile stick.
 
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I was once interviewed for a job at Fanatec, some 8-10 yrs ago. I had a very, very positive interaction with Thomas, I found him a visionary guy, very easy-going & energetic. But it seemed like he had other ppl who had the handbrake on him & to be honest they had negative energy that I just didn't like.
The marketing spending some of you talk about, how to do it much more efficiently, that's what we were talking about. Going into junior racing helping the young talent, guys like Lando & Charles at the time, the foremost talent, promoting thru that & expecting the returns when they would reach F1.
He was understanding it, but the others were very dismissive. I guess he wasn't pushy enough & he was taken advantage off.
It took them some 2 yrs to go into racing with SRO, which was so odd as a choice of partner, their viewing figures are always miserable, there's little public, mostly older fans etc. They probably just followed Kunos, who had entirely different motives & partnered just for the cars.
I guess the reach any F1 driver has over a single F1 weekend is probably 10x the reach all SRO races have over a season :) Probably many such short-sighted choices led them to taking loans and the inability to serve them.
I hope they survive, but they need new energy.
 
Cant understand why you have placed your BF order having all this experience for such a long time. I bought a CS pedals and the SQ shifter from them 10 years ago. All went smoothly and I am lucky that all the gear works fine so far. But after reading the articles and watching YTB videos about Fanatec over last 2 years it was clear to me that I would never order anything from them anymore.
Still waiting for my black friday order.

I don't get what some of you people say fanatec should go back to what it was. Or that they have lost their way. They have always been really bad and misleading with shipping paid orders. Ever since my first order 15 years ago it has always been the same issues. Web store stock numbers not meaning anything at all. They say they have stock. Then they just say they actually don't. They don't tell you this unless you send them an email and specifically ask about your order.

Support always responding with one liners that turn out to be false. "Your order is being shipped this week". It wasn't when I ask again 2 weeks later. They have done this with every single order I've made over the last 15 years. Support straight out lying to your face about shipping your orders now immediatelly asap and then 2 weeks later when you ask again they are waiting because they don't have anything to ship.

Or they can't ship it because they don't have one part of the order. Then when it arrives some product is missing anyways that will be delivered later. The loop starts from the beginning. Don't have it. Will be available x months from now. Won't. Ask months later. "Will ship it this week". Nothing 2 weeks later.

Zero communication despite massive delays. Just playing time and focusing on announcing new things to sell when the orders of the last 6 months are still being made in china.

This is what they have been always.

Thank goodness I have never had to deal with their support and faulty items. While the buying experience has always been always horrible the physical things have always worked and lasted. That being said I won't ever buy fanatec anymore. It is luck of the draw
 
I used Fanatec from the Porsche GT3 RS wheel, CSP V2s to the CSW 2.5 and V3's and finally said enough. Never really had any issues other than I don't like crappy companies. Their constant pre-order BS led me to believe they were financing production runs with pre-order money, and the constant refusal to admit fault put me in the never again category.

I now use Simucbe, Heusinkveld, Cube Controls, Ascher and have a simagic shifter. ALL of these companies are magnitudes better in product and support.
I second that. I had some problems with my Cube Controls GT Pro wheel rim. I was guilty of that as I tried to fit the rim to my accuforce quick release and I am not very skilled person. The rim was well over the warranty. I contacted them asking if they might fix my wheel that I ****ed up. Second day they asked for the collection address, the shipping company collected my wheel in 2 days and after a week I received my wheel back all fixed. Free of charge. And this is the way how to make loyal customers. I could easily afford sending my wheel to Cube Controls and paying for the repair but they didnt let me. And I owe them now. Needless to say my next wheel is going to be Cube Controls.
 

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