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The original founder of Fanatec and the parent company Endor AG, Thomas Jackermeier, has been ousted as CEO of Fanatec. The change appears to be a direct result of pressure from lending banks on the Endor Supervisory Board who stated this on the morning of March 28:

Landshut, March 28, 2024 – Endor AG is in negotiations with lending banks regarding a standstill agreement until June 30, 2024 with regard to the existing loans. The standstill agreement is subject to conditions. The Endor Supervisory Board will discuss these conditions today and, if necessary, pass a resolution.

Later that same day, presumably after the Endor Supervisory Board had met, they announced their decision:

Endor AG: Dismissal of CEO Thomas Jackermeier
Landshut, March 28, 2024 – 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.

This is a big deal. Thomas has been at the forefront of technological advancement, brand licensing (if you’re a regular reader you’ll know I prefer something that looks like a real racing car wheel over a ‘game controller’ any day), and getting that technology down to an affordable level. Now, it seems, certain aspects of that may have backfired.

Endor borrowed tens of millions from banks and has been investing in development, licensing of F1 and other brands, licensing to platforms such as PlayStation, advertising by sponsoring entire race series and more. Meanwhile, they have struggled with customer service issues and various problems that delayed shipments. At the same time they priced their products to seemingly push others out of the space and, potentially, themselves.

From a personal perspective I see a lot of people complaining about broken hardware, customer service, and more, but at the same time I know Fanatec ship a lot of products and the problems certainly can’t be the majority. I know that, or at least I think I do, because since I dropped Google Ads a month ago (to the day) the Fanatec affiliate link (visible on Desktop to the right of this text) has earned me more in commissions just sat there for a month than Google Ads did for years. Not that they’ve paid me yet… Fingers crossed.

Regardless, I don’t want to see sim racing lose a hardware manufacturer any more than I want to see us lose a software developer. A visionary like Thomas Jackermeier, who perhaps might not be the guy you want to be doing customer service or maybe even acting as CEO, isn’t the kind of mind you want to lose from the space entirely either… I hope they’ll slot him into a development role where, honestly, I think he’d be most happy.

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