Max was a German arms dealer. He was selling weapons to several Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. When a deal went sour due to the interference of American authorities, Max was forced to watch as his children were executed. He organized terrorist operations as payback to the United States.
Max was one of the masterminds of a plot, with Peter Kingsley and Alexander Trepkos, to start a war between the United States and three Middle Eastern nations, in an attempt to drive up oil prices. Max hired the terrorist organization Second Wave, led by Islamic terrorist Syed Ali, to acquire a nuclear warhead. Peter Kingsley then fabricated recordings that falsely implicated the three countries to Ali. Within 24 hours of the plot's discovery, Jack Bauer foiled it and managed to expose the conspirators as high up as Kingsley, but Max, Trepkos, and their supporters remained temporarily safe.
When his original plan failed, Max hired Mandy to attack President Palmer with a biological or chemical agent.
Max hired terrorist Peter Madsen to target Acting President James Prescott. Max's carefully laid plans eventually fell apart when he kidnapped Kate Warner in an attempt to blackmail her father, Bob Warner, into helping him smuggle nuclear weapons out of the country. Californian Governor James Radford approached Max and wanted to get out of the situation even though Max had promised that he would be the next President of the United States. Disappointed, Max showed the Governor to Mandy who then slit his throat. Later, Max was found and shot by Jack Bauer onboard his yacht. He survived the first shot and shot Jack back in the ribs, Jack staggered back, but managed to pull the trigger one more time, shooting Max again in the chest, piercing his bulletproof vest.
In a deleted scene from 7:00am-8:00am, Max is seen kissing Nina Myers on his boat after she is given Palmer's "shadow asylum". This suggests that the writers had originally intended Max to be Nina's employer from Season 1, with whom she remained in contact through the unseen German woman before murdering Teri and the link between him and Second Wave.