Manchester United chief executive Richard Arnold is to leave the club by the end of the year.
Arnold is to leave after just two years in the job as United’s owners finalise the sale of a minority stake to the petrochemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
He will hand over operational control of the club immediately and will be replaced as interim CEO by Patrick Stewart, who will also retain his role as general counsel.
The shake-up in United’s leadership comes just days before the club is expected to confirm Sky News’ exclusive that Ratcliffe’s Ineos Sports is acquiring a 25 per cent stake.
Arnold has been at United since 2007, replacing Ed Woodward in the top executive job early last year.
Joel Glazer, executive co-chairman, said: “I would like to thank Richard for his outstanding service to Manchester United over the past 16 years, and wish him all the best for his future endeavours. We are fortunate to be able to call on the deep knowledge and experience of Patrick Stewart to provide interim stability and continuity as we embark on a search for a new permanent CEO.”
Arnold added: “It has been an incredible privilege to serve this great football club for the past 16 years. Through highs and lows, the constant has been the dedication of our employees and fans. I would like to thank all of them for their loyalty and commitment, and wish everyone associated with the club the very best for the future.”
Insiders said he had succeeded in modernising the structure of United’s football operations, even as the men’s first team struggle in domestic and European competitions under manager Erik ten Hag.
Under Arnold, United won their first trophy in six years by beating Newcastle to win the Carabao Cup, and delivered industry-leading commercial deals with Adidas and Qualcomm.
The last year has, however, been one of turbulence amid ongoing uncertainty about the club’s future ownership.
A strategic review was initiated by the Glazer family almost a year ago, although it is expected to be resolved next week with confirmation of Ratcliffe’s arrival.