Bruce Buck, the chairman of top-tier English soccer club Chelsea FC, is to step down after nearly 20 years in the role, the club has announced today (June 20), with director Marina Granovskaia also reported to be leaving.
Buck will leave the position on June 30 but will continue to support the club as a senior advisor.
The club was bought for £4.25 billion (then $5.3 billion), last month, by a consortium led by US billionaire Todd Boehly.
Buck has been credited by Chelsea as having helped to consolidate the club’s position as “one of the world’s elite”, grow its commercial revenues significantly, and establish world-class training facilities and a world-class academy.
Buck also set up the Chelsea FC Foundation, which supports a broad range of youth and social initiatives.
He has been criticized in some quarters too, though, not least for Chelsea’s involvement in the ill-fated European Super League project, which rose and fell within a matter of days during April 2021.
Buck joined Chelsea as chairman in 2003 having come to advise the club’s now-former owner Roman Abramovich during his time at the US law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which had worked on acquisitions for the Sibneft oil firm of which Abramovic was co-owner at the time.
Buck’s departure from the club follows that of Abramovich, who sold Chelsea in May after having been sanctioned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine due to his links to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Buck said: “I am proud to have helped Chelsea realize great success on the pitch and make a positive impact in the community. Now is the right time to step down and let new ownership build on the strong foundations we have in place.
“The owners have a compelling vision for Chelsea’s future, and I look forward to helping them achieve it in this new role alongside our incredible staff, players, coaches and supporters.”
Boehly added: “Bruce has led Chelsea Football Club to the highest levels of international and domestic football while also developing one of the most active social responsibility projects in sport. We thank Bruce for his service and his commitment to the club.”
The Telegraph reports that Granovskaia will be following Buck out of the door at Chelsea having been a key figure in running the club for Abramovich.
She is described by Chelsea as having “acted as a representative of the owner at the club and in support of the board of directors” since 2010 and joined the Chelsea FC plc and club boards in 2013.
Within her remit was negotiating player transfers.
Granovskaia will become the third high-profile figure to leave Chelsea since the club was taken over if her exit is confirmed, with chief executive Guy Laurence having also left.