The chief executive of English Premier League football club Arsenal has quit for rival AC Milan, months after Elliott Management, the hedge fund founded by US billionaire Paul Singer, seized control of the club.
Ivan Gazidis will step down as CEO and resign as a director after a decade at the north London club, with effect from the end of October. The club will be led jointly by Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham.
Mr Sanllehi, who joined in February as head of football relations, will become head of football, while Mr Venkatesham, will move from his role as chief commercial officer to become managing director.
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,” said Mr Gazidis. He will take up his new role as chief executive of AC Milan at the start of December.
Mr Gazidis’s move comes just over two months after Elliott took control of the club following the failure by its former Chinese owner, Li Yonghong, to meet a deadline for payment of a debt held by the hedge fund.
The activist fund has a record of shaking up the management at its investments, but has pledged to create financial stability at the Serie A club.
On Tuesday, Mr Singer said the appointment was the “latest example of a club heading in the right direction: In the past few months, Chairman Paolo Scaroni, a refreshed Board and a reinvigorated management team, have all instilled a new sense of purpose to AC Milan.
Ivan Gazidis is a widely respected, highly talented chief executive, and one we expect can lead the club to realise its full potential.
Together with Elliott’s continued focus on financial stability and proper oversight, we look forward to on-field success and a world-class fan experience.”
Mr Scaroni said the CEO role was “one we have prioritised from day one of this project and one we have worked diligently upon to get right.” He added: “Ivan Gazidis will bring an unparalleled level of business acumen and football industry experience to the club.
He helped establish professional football in the United States; he brought Arsenal to new heights; and we can’t wait for him to get started here in Milan.
The fundamentals are now in place for success, which we recognize will take time, hard work, and perseverance.”