The takeover saga of Manchester United might soon be over with Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s completion of minority stake at the club, and multiple changes have already begun due to the transition, starting with Richard Arnold’s departure as the Manchester United chief executive officer. Earlier this week, the Red Devils announced that the 52-year-old British accountant will be leaving his role and the club after 21 months and 16 years respectively, while board member and general counsel Patrick Stewart will serve as the interim CEO of Manchester United until further notice following Richard Arnold’s exit.
Richard Arnold Leaves Old Trafford After More Than One and a Half Decades
Richard Arnold joined Manchester United as group commercial director back in 2007 and promoted to manage the club’s business operations after six years of services. He continued to create positive impact for the Red Devils, striking lucrative deals with major brands in the world during his tenure, namely Chevrolet and Adidas, before United proceeded to replace former chief executive officer Ed Woodward with Richard Arnold early last year.
Nevertheless, since Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s minority stake completion looms, a series of changes will be taking place at the club, and Richard Arnold will be the first major management personnel to leave not only his role but also the club. The British accountant is set to offer support during this transitional period until the end of December 2023, putting an end to a 16-year stint as a board member of the 20-time English league champions.
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Manchester United’s Official Statement on Richard Arnold’s Departure
In an announcement titled “United Announces Management Transition”, Manchester United confirmed Richard Arnold’s exit from his role as the chief executive officer and the club, and Patrick Stewart will be replacing the 52-year-old as a result. “Richard Arnold has decided to step down as Chief Executive of Manchester United after 16 years with the club. Patrick Stewart will take over as interim CEO, in addition to his existing role as General Counsel, with Richard continuing to provide transitional support until the end of December. A search process will be carried out for a new permanent CEO.”
In the announcement, Manchester United’s executive co-chairman Joel Glazer also expressed his gratitude over Richard Arnold for his service over the years: “I would like to thank Richard for his outstanding service to Manchester United over the past 16 years, and wish him all the best for his future endeavours. We are fortunate to be able to call on the deep knowledge and experience of Patrick Stewart to provide interim stability and continuity as we embark on a search for a new permanent CEO.”
The outgoing Richard Arnold added: “It has been an incredible privilege to serve this great football club for the past 16 years. Through highs and lows, the constant has been the dedication of our employees and fans. I would like to thank all of them for their loyalty and commitment, and wish everyone associated with the club the very best for the future.”
Richard Arnold’s Exit Is Just the Start
Ratcliffe’s Ineos group are set to pay an approximate of £1.25 billion for a 25 per cent stake at Manchester United, with a significant control over footballing operations gained. Hence, Richard Arnold may be the first major person to leave Old Trafford, but he is certainly not going to be the last one. Furthermore, the British accountant is likely to be replaced by Jean-Claude Blanc as the new permanent chief executive officer, having worked closely with the Ineos group and performed senior executive roles at major European clubs like Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. Rumour has it that Dave Brailsford is also ready to be brought upon to Manchester United soon.
The personnel transition at Manchester United should be complemented by more transfer movements in the upcoming winter transfer window, where the current sixth-placed team in the Premier League would want to take full advantage of to revive their season aspirations.
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