Soccer-Arsenal CEO Venkatesham to step down next year

LONDON (Reuters) – Arsenal’s CEO Vinai Venkatesham will step down next summer, the Premier League team announced on Thursday.

Venkatesham joined Arsenal in 2010 and was appointed managing director in 2018, after Ivan Gazidis left to join AC Milan, before being named CEO in 2020.

“This was a tough decision, but it is time to pursue another challenge. Now is not the time for goodbyes as I remain focused until my last day and supporting a seamless transition,” Venkatesham said in a statement.

He will leave with the club enjoying a resurgence under manager Mikel Arteta, having finished second behind Manchester City in the Premier League last season and qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign.

“The board is fully supportive of Vinai’s desire to pursue his next challenge,” Arsenal co-chair Josh Kroenke said.

“Whilst it is business as usual with everyone focused on the season ahead, we’d like to take this moment to thank him for his contribution and long service…

“Change and succession is something the club is well prepared for. The board remains committed to our strategy and will address leadership change as we continue to drive the club forward.”

Arsenal, who are in fifth place two points behind leaders Manchester City, visit Everton on Sunday.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)