Chelsea chief executive to stand down
22 October 2014, 22:04
London - Premier League leaders Chelsea said Wednesday that chief executive Ron Gourlay would be leaving his position with the London club to "pursue new business opportunities".
The Scot, who previously worked with Manchester United and sportswear manufacturer Umbro, first arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2004 and worked as chief operating officer before succeeding Peter Kenyon as chief executive in 2009.
"Chelsea Football Club announces that Ron Gourlay, after 10 successful years at the club including five as chief executive, is leaving Chelsea in order to pursue new business opportunities," said a club statement.
Gourlay leaves Chelsea with the club at the summit of English football and having presided over one of the most successful periods in the history of the club that saw the Blues win the Premier League title, two FA Cups, the Europa League and the 2012 Champions League, the first time any London team had been crowned kings of Europe.
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He also oversaw manager Jose Mourinho's return for the Portuguese boss's ongoing second spell at Stamford Bridge and negotiated a highly lucrative sponsorship agreement with sportswear and equipment giant Adidas worth almost 300 million ($482 million, 381 million euros) over 10 years.
"The club, and in particular the owner (Roman Abramovich) and directors, wish to thank Ron for his many years of service to Chelsea and support his desire to seek new challenges," Chelsea's statement added.
"Ron's efforts have helped the club to achieve its position as one of the leading football clubs in the world.
"Pending additional appointments, chairman Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia will assume additional executive responsibilities."
Gourlay, who did not outline a precise timetable for his departure, said: "It has been a privilege to have played a role in the club's considerable achievements both on and off the pitch over the last 10 years, but I feel the time is right to move on to other challenges.
"I would like to thank Mr Abramovich, the directors, the manager and players and all the staff for their support during my time at the club, and wish them much continued success in the future."