Arsenal change management structure as Gazidis joins Milan

Chief executive Gazidis will leave the club on October 31st to take similar role at AC Milan

Arsenal have announced that Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham will lead the club following a decision by chief executive Ivan Gazidis to join Milan.

A statement on Arsenal’s website on Tuesday confirmed the 54-year-old will begin his role in Italy on December 1st, with Vinai Venkatesham set to assume a new role as managing director.

Josh Kroenke, deputy chairman of Arsenal's majority owner Kroenke Sports and Entertainment UK, said: "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."

Gazidis has worked for Arsenal since 2009 and played a major role in introducing roles such as Sanllehi's, as well as that of head of recruitment – held by Sven Mislintat.

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Those appointments wrestled some power away from Arsène Wenger, whose 22-year tenure came to a close at the end of last season. Unai Emery has since taken the reins after a thorough interview process headed up by Gazidis, who will now leave to fulfil a similar role at San Siro.

“For the last 10 years I have been privileged to dedicate myself to this great club,” he said. “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. 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.

“We have been building on the club’s progressive social values, leading the way on the women’s game, diversity and inclusion, and establishing the Arsenal Foundation. This will remain central to the club’s philosophy.

“Although it is very hard to do – the hardest decision of my life – I believe that, after 10 years, it is the right time for me to step aside to allow new leadership, energy and ideas to take the club forward into this exciting new era. I believe in the positive force of change, both for me and for the club. I am excited to see what the future holds for this great club and I am energised by a new personal challenge with AC Milan.”