Arsenal Football Club has confirmed the resignation of CEO Ivan Gazidis who will join Italian club AC Milan.
Speculation had been growing in recent weeks that Gazidis, who has been at Arsenal since 2008, was in talks to take over the role of CEO at AC Milan. He will officially leave the North London club on the 31st October.
In a statement released by the club, Gazidis said: “For the last 10 years I have been privileged to dedicate myself to this great club. Arsenal is entering a new chapter and I have done everything I can to ensure that it is strongly placed to take on that challenge.”
Arsenal will now restructure its board with the announcement that Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham will lead the club. Raul, head of football relations, has been appointed as head of football, and Vinai, currently chief commercial officer, becomes managing director.
Josh Kroenke, deputy chairman of Arsenal’s majority owner Kroenke Sports and Entertainment UK, said: “It has been a pleasure working with Ivan. We will miss the wisdom, insight, and energy he brought to our club on a daily basis over the past decade.
“We are confident we have outstanding people in Raul and Vinai, and we look forward to working with them and coach Unai Emery to continue to move the club forward on and off the pitch.”
Club chairman Sir Chips Keswick said: “Ivan has led Arsenal with skill and dedication and leaves us in a strong position. The club has been transformed and he has recruited talented people, such as Raul, Vinai and of course Unai Emery, who will take us to future success.”
Raul, who joined Arsenal in February after 16 years at FC Barcelona where he was director of football will lead Arsenal’s football activities, said: “Although I joined Arsenal just months ago, I’ve felt embraced by this great club and part of its family from the first day. I will do everything possible to maintain our strong values which will be as fundamental to our future as they have been in our past.
“Vinai and I will need everyone’s help, to do everything right and secure the success everyone connected to Arsenal wants. I sincerely thank Arsenal’s board for their trust in us and thank Ivan for bringing me to this great club, and for consistently supporting me every day, in every way. It’s with overwhelming pride and utmost excitement that I face this new opportunity.”
Vinai arrived in 2010 from London 2012 and has overseen all the club’s commercial activities and will now oversee all business operations, said: “From the day I joined Arsenal I have always considered it a privilege to serve this great football club, so it’s an honour to take up the position of managing director and lead the club alongside Raul.
“Together we will work tirelessly with the extraordinary staff we have at Arsenal to respect and enhance our unique history, heritage and values; with the overall objective to bring success to our millions of fans all around the world and make them proud of their club. I thank Stan and Josh Kroenke and the rest of the board for their trust in me, and Ivan for all the support he has given me since I joined the club in 2010.”
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