Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal chief Gazidis leaves for AC Milan as Gunners announce new structure

Arsenal's chief executive Ivan Gazidis has ended weeks of speculation by confirming his move to AC Milan.

The London club have announced that Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham will lead Arsenal after Gazidis' October 31 departure, Sanllehi as Head of Football and Venkatesham as managing director.

The duo are existing members of the Arsenal hierarchy but move into new roles to take over Gazidis' duties.

Gazidis has been the CEO at the club for almost 10 years, accepting the role in November 2008 and formally taking charge in January 2009. He said his decision to leave was the hardest of his life with the club entering an 'exciting era' under new manager Unai Emery.

“Arsenal is entering a new chapter and I have done everything I can to ensure that it is strongly placed to take on that challenge," he told arsenal.com. "This includes world-class facilities and outstanding leaders in every sector who carry the values of the club, including, of course, Unai Emery, Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham in whom I have enormous faith. 

"I know many will think this is a strange time to be leaving but I believe it is the right time for me and for the club. Change and succession is not only inevitable for a club like Arsenal, it is necessary if it is continually to keep moving forward. One of my primary responsibilities as chief executive has been to make sure that there is good succession planning in every position in the club, including my own."

Milan confirmed that Gazidis will begin working with the club from December 1.

"In hiring Mr Gazidis as CEO, AC Milan brings on board a world-class football executive with a track record of sporting and commercial success across the globe," the Italian club's statement read.

Josh Kroenke, deputy chairman of Arsenal’s majority owner Kroenke Sports and Entertainment UK, told arsenal.com: “It has been a pleasure working with Ivan. We will miss the wisdom, insight, and energy he brought to our club on a daily basis over the past decade. We are confident we have outstanding people in Raul and Vinai, and we look forward to working with them and coach Unai Emery to continue to move the club forward on  and off the pitch.”

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