Biography Wolfgang Stein
Born on May 23rd 1939 in Berlin, WS has been for half a century a leading figure in events marketing.
In recent years he has used his experience to create and promote projects centered on the artwork of his wife Anna Chromy. Multilingual (English, French, German, Italian), WS carries an Austrian passport of the European Union. He is a longtime resident of the Principality of Monaco and has spent most of his time in France and Italy.
WS holds an MBA from the University of Vienna. He also attended courses on philosophy and comparative science of religions. After his graduation in 1960 he spent a year on a French scholarship at the Sorbonne in Paris to study French literature and civilization, together with a stint at Sciences Po. His love for anything French and his decision to settle in this country stem from this time. The first employment offer came from Voest steel plants in Linz, Austria, where he also met his wife. Working on international engineering projects, WS was offered at the age of 25 the position of Commercial Director and Vice-President of a new steel plant in Allahabad, India, which he had to decline for family reasons.
After a year with Bull/GE, where he got his first experience in the computer business, WS joined the Bertelsmann Group in Gutersloh, Germany, as personal assistant to the owner Reinhard Mohn.
In 1967 he took over the management of the Austrian book club of Bertelsmann in his hometown Salzburg, in 1968 he moved to head the Benelux club based in Utrecht, Netherlands, and in 1969 he founded France Loisir in Paris, one of the biggest success stories in the Bertelsmann Club business. The position at the helm of the book club gave WS the opportunity to dig deeper into French literature and become friends with authors and publishers of the Existentialist movement, especially Gallimard, publisher of the Pleiade, which includes the works of WS favorite author Albert Camus.
In 1972 WS decided that it was time to follow his own entrepreneurial instincts and he created a direct sales network for the distribution of religious encyclopedias. In 1978 he received an offer from Rolf Deyhle, a real estate developer in Stuttgart, to head Sport Billy Productions, a company with which Deyhle intended to create a major comic book and animation enterprise. In the same year WS managed to acquire for SB the well-known Halas & Batchelor library of animated pictures in London and started in cooperation with John Halas the creation of the storyboards for an animated series on the adventures of Sport-Billy.
After having signed a production agreement with Lou Scheimer’s Filmation Studios in L.A. and a music production deal with Chaim Saban, WS moved for a year to L.A. to supervise the production of the series. Fundamental for the further development of SB were contracts with FIFA and other international sports federations, who would accept the cartoon characters as their mascot. In addition, SB created the new FIFA logo and the design for the World Cup Trophy.
Sport Billy Productions, transformed by WS in 1980 into the Telemundi Group, was the starting point for a career which made the group in the 90ties into one of the four leading events marketing agencies worldwide (source: Special Events Marketing Magazine) with 15 offices in five continents. The number of special events marketed by Telemundi is countless, embracing sports, culture and the arts.
The sports marketing portfolio included exclusive rights to the Rugby World Cup ’91 in London and Paris; the Ice-hockey World Championships ’92 in Prague and Bratislava; the America’s Cup ’95 in San Diego; Dynamo Kiev Football Club; the Guards Polo Club in London; the Oxford University Boat Club and British Rowing Federation; the Prague Tennis Open, and many more. But the most important involvement in sports were the exclusive Merchandising and Licensing rights for the FIFA Football World Cups 1982 in Spain, 1986 in Mexico and 1990 in Italy.
In 1986 TM created a new concept to market EXPOS or World Fairs in the same way as major sports events and was awarded an exclusive contract with the Spanish government to market EXPO ’92 Seville to potential sponsors, suppliers, concessionaires and licensees. This venture created for the organizers of the Expo a revenue stream of 500 million USD. On the heels of this success TM marketed two smaller EXPOS, – Colombo ’92 in Genova, Italy and Ameriflora ’92 in Columbus,Ohio. Thereafter WS was engaged by the government of the German state of Lower Saxony for the bid of the City of Hanover to host the EXPO2000.
The consultancy work of WS included a Marketing Study for the Volkswagen Group in order to create a corporate sponsoring strategy for the VW, Audi, Seat, and Skoda car groups; Creation of the “Worldfest” master plan and feasibility study for the City of Ried in Austria, a theme park based on music, dance, food and entertainment from different parts of the world; Creation of a master plan and feasibility study for Garfield’s Adventure America park at the Indi 500 racecourse in Indianapolis, Indiana, Hendricks County; Pre-feasibility study for the extension of the season in Montecatini Terme in cooperation with Dr. Yves Tréguer, the founder of the Spa in Monte Carlo. The purpose was to create a year-round facility with the creation of an “Oleotherapy” center based on the positive effects of olive oil; Gut Guggenthal Hotel and Entertainment complex in Salzburg, Austria
The cultural marketing activities of TM, and subsequently WS, embraced such varied areas as Music Festivals (Arena di Verona, Prague Autumn Festival, Tanglewood Festival of the Boston Symphony) Creation of the ARTE Club for the French-German Arte TV in Strasburg, France; Creation of “Ein Stein fuer die Frauenkirche”, concept to finance the reconstruction of this Dresden landmark building by searching clients to adopt the 60.000 stone blocs (sold to Dresdner Bank); Creation of “Roma Caput Mundi” for the sponsorship of restoration work on historical monuments belonging to the City of Rome, and subsequently extension of this concept to other monuments in peril through the World Heritage Fund; Creation of a sponsorship concept for the construction of a new wing of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and sale to Yasuda Insurance Company in Tokyo; Creation of the sponsorship concept for “The Wilds” in Ohio, the largest park in the US to breed endangered species, “ a chance to sponsor life itself”, inaugurated in the presence of Neil Armstrong; Creation of 500Top Events Europe, a guide to the best cultural events (www.top500events.com); In 1990 Creation of Fondation pour la Paix in Roquebrune, France and start of cooperation with the Franciscan community in Assisi, Italy, on questions of peace building.
In 1999 the couple established the Anna Chromy Foundation Holdings in Luxemburg (now The Conscience Institute) as home for Anna’s paintings, drawings and sculptures. The Foundation organized large sculpture exhibitions (Prague 2000, Paris Place Vendome 2005, Athens National Archeological Museum 2007, Beijing 2009, 2013 and 2015), places public sculptures in outstanding locations in Europe and the world, publishes art books, and supports educational and charitable programs, such as the Cloak of Conscience, Pax Medicalis in Menton, France, the Association Saint Vladimir in Paris and Fondazione duc in Altum, Rome.
Wolfgang Stein is the Chairman of the Anna Chromy Museum Endowment Fund, which aims to maintain the legacy of both Anna Chromy and Wolfgang Stein.