The New York Red Bulls made hedge- fund manager Jerome de Bontin general manager of the Major League Soccer team in place of Erik Soler, who will remain as an internal adviser.
The Red Bulls moved into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Fire with a 4-1 win against Toronto on Sept. 29. New York hosts Chicago on Oct. 6 in its third-to-last regular-season game. The top five teams from each conference advance to the postseason.
De Bontin will oversee business operations, while his French countryman, Gerard Houllier, a former coach at Liverpool and Aston Villa in England’s Premier League, will take charge of sporting aspects at the club, the Red Bulls said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
De Bontin, a graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts, founded money manager Mekar Financial Services and its broker subsidiary, Sustainability Investments LLC, in Northbrook, Illinois, in 1998. Prior to that, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Credit Agricole Futures.
De Bontin has been a director of French soccer club Monaco and was president for a year from early 2008. He sits on the board of trustees at the U.S. Soccer Federation and is also a director of Rush Soccer, which coaches more than 34,000 young players at 28 clubs across the U.S.
Soler joined the Red Bulls on Dec. 7, 2009. He owned soccer club IK Start in his native Norway from 2002-08 and played for Lillestrom in the Norwegian league, Hamburg in the German Bundesliga and in Denmark before retiring as a player in 1988.
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