Manchester United announced on Wednesday that CEO Richard Arnold will resign as the club prepares for a reported stake sale to British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.
Patrick Stewart, the general counsel and board director who has been with United for over 17 years will serve as interim CEO, providing time for the club’s future owners to appoint a new long-term CEO.
Future ownership of the English club remains uncertain following the Glazer family’s exploration of options, such as new investments or a potential sale.
Although a deal between the Glazers and Ratcliffe has not been confirmed, sources indicate that an agreement is anticipated to be concluded in the upcoming weeks, as reported earlier this month by Reuters.
Arnold was appointed CEO less than two years ago, taking over from executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and filling a position that had been vacant since 2013.
His task was to with revive the club’s fortunes and he brought on Erik ten Hag in April last year who is currently facing scrutiny due to the team’s lackluster on-field performance in recent months.
During Arnold’s tenure, Manchester United achieved record revenues and secured significant sponsorship deals including a $1.1 billion Adidas kit deal for 10 more years in August.
“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,” Arnold said in a statement.
Speaking about Arnold’s departure, Joel Glazer, United’s 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.”
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United announced that Arnold will offer “transitional support” until the end of December.