Ian Ayre is to leave his position as chief executive of Liverpool Football Club this month.
The ‘global hunt’ for his successor is ongoing with owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) insisting that they will have a new CEO in place by the summer.
A statement issued by FSG reads: “Although this transition has been nearly a year in the making, today is still a difficult day – we are officially saying goodbye to Ian.
“On behalf of John and Tom, I (Mike Gordon) would like to place on record the outstanding contribution Ian has made to Liverpool Football Club over the past 10 years. It goes without saying that his leadership of LFC has been instrumental to the club’s progress under our ownership. It is a measure of his character and his commitment to LFC that we have been able to collectively plan and execute such a gradual, natural transition. On both a professional and personal level, he will be missed.
“Over the past year, we made a number of changes to our management structure by promoting several of our top employees to more senior positions in recognition of their exceptional service to LFC. Though some of these changes are already public, today we are formally announcing the promotion of Billy Hogan to managing director and chief commercial officer, and Andy Hughes to chief operating officer. The promotions are a reflection of their first-rate performance as executives and carry additions to their respective roles and responsibilities. These changes have already ushered in improvements to the club’s operations and they will also serve to ensure management stability during the transition to new executive leadership.
“The last step remaining is to conclude the process of identifying and hiring a successor to Ian. We are very pleased with the search progress and fully expect to have our new CEO in position by our original deadline of the summer of 2017. We are quite confident that LFC will have the right structure and the best people operating within that structure to fulfil the lofty ambitions of LFC and its supporters.”
Ayre, who is leaving Liverpool for a role with German outfit TSV 1860 Munich, added: “There is no greater professional satisfaction for me than to leave Liverpool Football Club in much improved health throughout than when I joined the club in 2007.
“This has always been more than just a job for me because of the emotional connection I have with the place. So, the only yardstick that has ever mattered, for every decision I have taken here, is whether or not it is in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club.
“My journey here over the last decade has been a rich mix of challenges and opportunities, a journey only made possible by the outstanding people I have had the honour to work with along the way both inside and outside the club. As the club transitions to its next chapter, I made clear some time back that I felt that 2017 was the right time to step aside. As the club’s new structure starts to unfold, this is a natural point for me to say goodbye to the role of chief executive and to many friends, but my love and support for this great football club will continue as it has my whole life.”