AC Milan succeed in luring Gazidis from Arsenal
Italian soccer giants AC Milan have appointed Ivan Gazidis, until now a senior figure at English club Arsenal, as their new chief executive.
The 54-year-old (pictured) is to leave the London outfit at the end of October, and will take up his new role on 1 December.
Gazidis had been linked with Milan for several months having been targeted by the club’s new owners, the US hedge fund Elliott Management.
Elliott assumed control of Milan this summer after Li Yonghong, the former president and co-owner of the club, failed to make a repayment of €32 million ($37.4 million) to the company by a deadline of 6 July.
A consortium led by Li acquired Milan from Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, in April of last year, but the €740-million takeover proved controversial, with reports of investigations by financial regulators in China and Italy, and, despite a large outlay on new players, Milan failed to qualify for the Uefa Champions League this season.
Gazidis has been chief executive at Arsenal for nearly 10 years, and was instrumental in the appointment this May of head coach Unai Emery as the successor to the long-serving Arsene Wenger.
Prior to joining Arsenal in 2009, Gazidis spent 14 years at North America’s Major League Soccer, latterly as deputy commissioner.
In a statement, Milan’s executive chairman Paolo Scaroni said: “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 recognise will take time, hard work, and perseverance."
Gazidis said yesterday: “I know many will think this is a strange time to be leaving [Arsenal] but I believe it is the right time for me and for the club. Change and succession is not only inevitable for a club like Arsenal, it is necessary if it is continually to keep moving forward. I am now looking forward to joining one of the world's other great clubs, and working to restore it to its rightful place in football."
Arsenal have already announced changes to their management structure, with Raul Sanllehi moving from head of football relations to head of football and Vinai Venkatesham from chief commercial officer to managing director.
In August, Stan Kroenke, the sports tycoon who is the majority shareholder of the club, made an offer of £600 million to acquire the 33-per-cent stake he does not already own.