Darren Eales, until recently the president and chief executive of US soccer’s Atlanta United, has been installed as the new chief executive of English Premier League team Newcastle United.
Newcastle have been searching for someone to fill the chief executive role since Lee Charnley departed as managing director in November last year following a handover period after the club was acquired by a group led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Eales, 49, will work alongside Newcastle’s recently appointed sporting director Dan Ashworth for the second time in his career, the two having been at West Bromwich Albion (another English outfit) together between 2006 and 2010.
Eales attended Brown University in the US before playing soccer there professionally.
He subsequently studied law at Cambridge University in the UK before joining West Brom’s in-house legal team in 2006, later becoming a director and company secretary.
In 2010, he was appointed director of football administration at Tottenham Hotspur, also of the Premier League, before being named president of the Atlanta, then a newly created franchise in the US’ top-tier Major League Soccer.
There, he is credited with assembling the club’s front office team, developing its brand identity, and helping to appoint a number of its technical team, as well as spearheading its move into the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017.
A statement from Newcastle’s investment group – PIF, PCP Capital Partners, and RB Sports & Media – said: “We are delighted to announce Darren Eales as the club’s new CEO. He is an exceptional leader and is a great fit for Newcastle United.
“We have conducted an exhaustive recruitment process to ensure we identified and secured the right individual for the CEO position, and we are confident we have found that person in Darren.
“He has a deep understanding of the football industry and what it takes to achieve growth and success, and he will be a key member of the club's leadership team as we look to deliver on the club's potential on and off the pitch.”
Eales added: “Newcastle United is both a giant of a club and the heartbeat of its community. Every time I have visited St. James’ Park, I’ve been overwhelmed by the passion of the fans.
“This is a club with an amazingly rich heritage, and I am delighted to be joining for this new chapter in its long history.
"I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to working with the rest of the team to help this storied club fulfill its potential.”