Gourlay to Step Up as He's Named Successor to Kenyon ; Chelsea Waste Little Time in Filling Vacant Role as They Promote from within by Appointing Chief Operating Officer as Their New Chief Executive. by Simon Johnson [Edition 2]

By Johnson, Simon | The Evening Standard (London, England), September 17, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Gourlay to Step Up as He's Named Successor to Kenyon ; Chelsea Waste Little Time in Filling Vacant Role as They Promote from within by Appointing Chief Operating Officer as Their New Chief Executive. by Simon Johnson [Edition 2]


Johnson, Simon, The Evening Standard (London, England)


CHELSEA today confirmed that the club's chief operating officer Ron Gourlay will replace Peter Kenyon as their new chief executive after he leaves on 31 October.

Gourlay was favourite to succeed Kenyon, who announced his decision to stand down yesterday, having become an increasingly significant figure at the club since he joined from Manchester United's commercial department in 2004.

The 46-year-old has worked in the football industry for more than 25 years, 16 of which were as the sales and marketing director at leading sportswear manufacturer Umbro.

It is understood his role will not have the same power as the one Kenyon had, for Gourlay will be left to concentrate on the commercial side while sporting director Frank Arnesen takes charge of day to day football matters -- including player signings, contract negotiation and dealing with manager Carlo Ancelotti (right).

However, Gourlay is relishing the challenge he now faces and said: "It is a huge honour to be offered the chance to lead Chelsea.

"We have a fantastic team both on and off the field and those teams can move us onto even greater success in the future. To be responsible for that is a fantastic challenge and I will be giving it my total commitment, drive and energy.

"All successful clubs strike the balance between the footballing and commercial sides and my role is to ensure this happens as it is a critical part of our strategy moving forward.

"We have great partners in Samsung, adidas, Etihad and many others.

"Together we will move our relationships on to the next level and develop new and exciting opportunities in other areas and with other companies in key markets around the world."

Gourlay, who is believed to be a Celtic fan, may approach the job with a more no-nonsense approach than his predecessor.

One of his roles has been to attend the fans' forum, an occasion is where some selected supporters get the chance to air their views on the way the club is run.

According to one insider, Gourlay was described as very much as the bad cop to Kenyon's good cop because of the way he sometimes reacted to their questions or demands. He also flew out to Moscow ahead of the Champions League Final against Manchester United in 2008 to help with the team's preparations and discuss security issues regarding the travelling fans.

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Gourlay to Step Up as He's Named Successor to Kenyon ; Chelsea Waste Little Time in Filling Vacant Role as They Promote from within by Appointing Chief Operating Officer as Their New Chief Executive. by Simon Johnson [Edition 2]
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