March 15 – Liverpool have announced that chief executive Ian Ayre will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of May 2017.
By then Ayre will have been at the club for 10 years having joined as commercial director in 2007 and joining the board in 2009. He was made managing director in 2011 and chief executive in 2013. Ayre is also the vice-chair of the Liverpool FC Foundation, the club’s official charity.
Ayre was an important figure in the sale and stability of the club following the takeover by Fenway Sports Group takeover in October 2010, and has led an aggressive overhaul of the club’s commercial structure since then, as well as a key role in the redevelopment of Anfield.
In a statement on the club’s website, principal owner John W. Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon said: “Ian advised us of his intention to step down as CEO a few months ago.
“We asked him on several occasions to take some time to reconsider his decision, but have been unable to convince him to remain as CEO beyond May 2017. We will at some point in the near future begin identifying and recruiting a worthy successor to continue to build on the outstanding foundations which have been laid by Ian.
“Under his leadership, we have seen Liverpool transform from a club that was on the brink of bankruptcy, to one which today enjoys strong financial and operational health.
“Stability is a commodity often under-valued in sporting organisations, but it has been a fundamental hallmark of Ian’s time in charge. Liverpool will reap the benefits of his outstanding work for many years to come.”
Ayre, a life-long Liverpool fan, said: “If becoming chief executive of Liverpool Football Club was the greatest honour of my professional life, then deciding to step down at the end of my current contract is by far the most difficult.
“Having the privilege to lead this great club comes with huge responsibility and challenge but one which I have relished and I feel proud of my achievements in the role. I believe the end of next season is the right time to pass the CEO baton on to a new person, who will take on the challenges and opportunities with a fresh enthusiasm and vigour.”
Club applies for planning for new shop and café
Ayre may be planning his exit but the club is planning further expansion with the submission of a planning application last week for a new megastore that will have a first floor café that overlooks the Main Stand that will be completed this year.
Last month, council leaders passed proposals for a £10 million hotel and neighbouring business hub, part of the £260 million overhaul of the area, which includes the expansion of the Main Stand at Anfield.
The application says the move will bring “much-needed investment and increased visitors to the existing high street”. Liverpool Council will consider the proposal later this year.
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