Todd Kline, the chief commercial officer at English Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur, has resigned from his role.
The club confirmed Kline will now go on a period of gardening leave, with UK media reporting that after that period ends, he will join London rivals Chelsea, who have been going through a period of executive-level change since the club's takeover by a consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital in May 2022 for £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion).
He leaves without having managed to secure a naming rights partner for Tottenham's iconic new stadium, which opened in April 2019. This had been one of Kline's top priorities when appointed almost three years ago.
After the new venue opened in December 2019, it was reported the club was in the market for a 15-year title sponsorship to the tune of £375 million (currently $414 million), or £25 million a year, for its new £1 billion stadium.
Tottenham have subsequently been linked with several potential suitors, including tech giants in Google and Amazon, as well as other unnamed brands.
Kline, originally from the US, first joined Tottenham in March 2021, after previously working as a senior vice president at the William Morris Endeavor (WME) agency. There, he served as SVP for sports talent and property sales.
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Before that, he held roles at the Washington Redskins and at the Miami Dolphins (where he brought in Hard Rock as a naming partner for that team's stadium in a lucrative deal), both from American football's NFL.
Any eventual Tottenham Hotspur Stadium naming rights partner will benefit not only from visibility during Premier League matches but also during NFL games hosted at the stadium (there is a contract in place between Tottenham and the NFL until 2030), as well as other major events, such as concerts.
It has been reported by UK media that Kline's role at Chelsea, meanwhile, will be as a senior figure within that club's business operations.
That club ended their long search for a sleeve sponsor recently by signing a deal with cryptocurrency company BingX.
Through the tie-up, BingX will be the west London club's sleeve sponsor for the rest of this season before switching to become its training kit sponsor for the 2024-25 campaign. Chelsea had been without a sleeve sponsor since Hyundai, the Korean car manufacturer, ended its deal with the club in 2022.
November, meanwhile, saw Casper Stylsvig join Chelsea as chief revenue officer, having previously held that role at Italian soccer giants AC Milan.
Chelsea appointed Chris Jurasek as their new chief executive in May, and have also brought in James Gannon as chief operating officer.