April 15, 2014
WHY DE BONTIN LEFT
'We no longer agreed to the strategy'
By Michael Lewis
|Jerome de Bontin: "The objective that I had did not necessary match those of the Red Bull organization in Austria."
Keith Furman/First Row Photos
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Speaking for the first time since he left the Red Bulls as general manager last month, Jerome de Bontin says he decided to leave due to strategic differences between him and the team hierarchy in Austria.
Only five days prior to the Red Bulls' season opener in Vancouver, de Bontin resigned from the position on March 3, in an announcement that surprised the local and national soccer community.
De Bontin, who oversaw the club’s business operations, has departed for personal reasons, the club said in a statement last month.
"All I can say about my departure is we no longer agreed to the strategy," de Bontin said Saturday. "I think I am very ambitious for New York and very ambitious for soccer in this country. The objective that I had did not necessary match those of the Red Bull organization in Austria. I felt it was better with this in mind that we parted ways."
De Bontin spoke about his departure after he was on the closing round table at the Hofstra Soccer Conference this past weekend.
There were all sorts of rumors swirling around about de Bontin left the club so close to the start of the season.
Asked if he was pursuing anything else at the moment, de Bontin replied, "Absolutely. I intend to remain in soccer in a leadership role. It's premature for me to say too much, but I am very confident that people will see me again in a meaningful way."
He would not elaborate. De Bontin lives in Manhattan.
"I will not say more than that because if I tell you where I intend to live, whether it's New York or elsewhere, you may conclude maybe the wrong thing," he said.
De Bontin had been with the Red Bulls since Oct. 2, 2012, replacing Erik Soler.
De Bontin is well respected in the U.S. soccer community.
He has as president of French Club AS Monaco from early 2008 to the spring of 2009. He has served as a board member of the Monegasque team for seven years and also as a member of the board, chair of the development committee and member of the investment committee of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
De Bontin also served on the U.S. Soccer Federation task force on player development and is the chairman of the Rush Soccer Organization.
No successor has been named since his departure.
Former Red Bulls managing director Marc de Grandpre will be returning to the Major League Soccer club, according to sources close to the team. One source said de Grandpre, who worked at the soccer team from 2006-2008, would become the Red Bulls' commercial manager.