The Liverpool chief executive, Ian Ayre, will leave the club at the end of this month as part of a management restructuring in which its replacement will be installed in the summer.
Ayre, who has spent 10 years at Anfield, has been due to a departure at the end of the season but, after you have prepared the way for his successor, and with Michael Edwards was appointed as sporting director, he decided to go to the end of February. The 53-year-old is to become sporting director at the TSV 1860 Munich, but will take a break from football before starting with the club of Bundesliga 2.
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Liverpool are close to announcing a new chief executive who will start working in the pre-season and have made several changes to its management team. As well as Edwards, who took over in November as sporting director, with responsibility for negotiating transfers, the commercial director, Billy Hogan, is now managing director and head of business affairs. Andy Hughes has been promoted to chief financial officer to chief operating officer.
Ayre was first from Liverpool, the chief commercial officer under the near-ruinous ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett before the promotions, managing director and chief executive officer pursuant to the current owners, Fenway Sports Group.
He said: “When I arrived in 2007, I set myself three objectives. We turned the business around, another was to find some sort of solution for the stadium, and thirdly, it was to see the club back at the top end of football. In my mind, I realized these things.
“The company is in full form in all the elements. The main stand is in place, and then the football – the arrival of Jürgen [Klopp], the solidification of the team. You can’t stay here and wait for the squad to be perfect, because you would be there forever isn’t it? I felt that I had done the hardest parts and the biggest pieces that I can do here. I felt that it was less difficult and the time to give someone else an opportunity.”
Liverpool’s next chief executive will have less participation that Ayre has done with the football operation because of Edwards ‘ work as a sports director. But Ayre insists there will not be a divide between the business and football sides of the club.
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He said: “My personal view is that you can’t have a “them and us”, what football club. You can’t have a complete separation between what’s happening in football and what is happening in the rest of the company. It only works in my opinion, when everything comes together as one.
“I think Mike’s role in the [Mike Gordon, the president of the FSG], sitting through the whole group, is very important. The new ceo may not have the same level of participation that I had in the transfers and other football matters, but he will still have an involvement.”
Ayre’s decision to leave early has the support of the FSG, and Gordon, said: “in the name of John [Henry] and Tom [Werner], I would like to acknowledge the outstanding contribution Ian has made to Liverpool football club over the past 10 years. It goes without saying that his leadership of Liverpool has played an important role for the club in the progress of the implementation of our right to property. Both professional and personal, we will miss it.”