As Manchester United edges closer to the end of its dramatic takeover, the Premier League giant’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Arnold, has decided to step down from his role.
Arnold who has spent 16 years with the club will vacate the CEO role at the end of the 2023/24 football season ahead of the arrival of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS whose 1.3 billion deal for a 25 per cent stake in the club is close to being finalised.
The Glazers family put the club up for sale on November 22, 2022, after confirming that they are open to a sale but say other options “including new investment” will be considered.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani were the frontrunners after almost a year of delay in the sale handled by the Raine Group but the Qatari billionaire who made about five bids to buy 100 per cent of the club in a debt-free deal withdrew his bid last month as it appeared that the Glazer family are not sure they want to sell the club.
Sheikh Jassim claimed his final bid, thought to be double United’s $3.2bn (£2.64bn) stock market valuation, had not met the Glazers’ demands.
However, Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group will pay around £1.25bn to buy 25% of the club in a deal expected to be agreed during this month’s international break, possibly as early as next week.
As the fans await the finalisation of the deal that will see Ratcliffe become a minority shareholder Arnold has decided to leave the club in what is seen as the first of many high profile departures expected to happen once Ratcliffe comes on board.
According to the club on Wednesday, 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.
The statement added that a search process will be carried out for a new permanent CEO.
Arnold said, “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.”
Joel Glazer, Executive Co-Chairman, said, “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.”
Patrick Stewart said, “Together with my leadership team colleagues, my job will be to ensure that the club’s foundations remain stable while we embrace changes that can make us stronger over the long term, on and off the pitch, and to support the search for a new permanent CEO.”