Vinai Venkatesham to step down as Arsenal chief executive next year

<span>Photograph: David Klein/Reuters</span>
Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

The Arsenal chief executive officer, Vinai Venkatesham, has announced he will leave the club next summer after almost four years in the role.

Venkatesham will end a lengthy association with the club, whose commercial department he joined in 2010. His departure for an unspecified new challenge will come as a surprise given Arsenal’s fortunes have turned around under a leadership team headed up by Venkatesham, the sporting director, Edu, and the manager, Mikel Arteta.

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He was appointed to his current role in September 2020, having previously been managing director, and has seen a once-chaotic organisation turn into one of the Premier League’s most smoothly run clubs.

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

The club’s co-chair, Josh Kroenke, emphasised moves are afoot to appoint a successor. “The board is fully supportive of Vinai’s desire to pursue his next challenge,” he 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. Vinai will always be part of the Arsenal family and always welcome back at Emirates Stadium.

“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.”

Venkatesham has given Arsenal a voice internationally through his position as an executive board member of the European Club Association, a role from which he briefly stood down during the botched Super League breakaway in 2021. He is also a member of the influential Uefa club competitions committee.