Liverpool FC Chief Executive Officer Ian Ayre is set to leave the Reds at the end of February following a successful 10-year tenure at the club to join German 2.Bundesliga side TSV 1860 Munich.
In March 2016, Ayre announced his plans to leave LFC and he has since played a pivotal role in completing a 10-month transition plan to put a robust structure and operating framework in place that will ensure continued stability across the club and pave the way for the new CEO, who is expected to join in the summer.
During his 10 years at Liverpool, Ayre has transformed and modernised the club, leading a complete overhaul of Liverpool’s financial, commercial and operational structure. He was instrumental in masterminding the successful exit of the previous owners and brought much-needed stability right across the club following the Fenway Sports Group takeover in 2010.
In the same year, Ayre secured the shirt sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered Bank – believed to be one of the most lucrative shirt sponsorship deals in football – and significantly increased commercial revenues for reinvestment into the team. More recently, he played a pivotal and crucial role in not only the redevelopment of the Main Stand but also the wider regeneration of the Anfield area.
Speaking on behalf of Fenway Sports Group principal owner John W Henry and chairman Tom Werner, FSG president Mike Gordon said: “Although this transition has been nearly a year in the making, today is still a difficult day – we are officially saying goodbye to Ian.”
“On behalf of John and Tom, I would like to place on record the outstanding contribution Ian has made to Liverpool Football Club over the past 10 years. It goes without saying that his leadership of LFC has been instrumental to the club’s progress under our ownership. It is a measure of his character and his commitment to LFC that we have been able to collectively plan and execute such a gradual, natural transition. On both a professional and personal level, he will be missed.”
Meanwhile departing CEO Ayre, added: “There is no greater professional satisfaction for me than to leave Liverpool Football Club in much improved health throughout than when I joined the club in 2007.”
“This has always been more than just a job for me because of the emotional connection I have with the place. So, the only yardstick that has ever mattered, for every decision I have taken here, is whether or not it is in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club.”
“My journey here over the last decade has been a rich mix of challenges and opportunities, a journey only made possible by the outstanding people I have had the honour to work with along the way both inside and outside the club. As the club transitions to its next chapter, I made clear some time back that I felt that 2017 was the right time to step aside. As the club’s new structure starts to unfold, this is a natural point for me to say goodbye to the role of chief executive and to many friends, but my love and support for this great football club will continue as it has my whole life,” Ayre ended by saying.
Meanwhile 1860 Munich Majority shareholder Hasan Ismaik comments on Ayre’s arrival at the club, “We have a clear long-term goal: the return to the Bundesliga. For this, we need acting persons who are suited to us by the personality and their abilities. With Ian Ayre, we bring in the ideal candidate. We are confident that his long-term experience in the football world will help us. I look forward to him and wish Ian good luck!”
“I am excited about the challenge,” Ian Ayre said enthusiastically. “I am especially looking forward to working with Hasan Ismaik and the whole Lions team. TSV 1860 Munich has a long tradition and a loyal adherence. These two qualities make the club very attractive to a leader. What I already know about 1860 is that the Lions have an extraordinary significance for the local fans and the Munich population. For me, the club undoubtedly belongs back in the German Bundesliga.”
The 53-year-old Ayre continues by saying, “On this date, TSV 1860 Munich is neither one of the largest nor the best clubs in Germany. But there is a great potential to improve this condition. If only the size would count, the elephant and not the lion would be king of the animals! Success comes only when everyone pulls together and speak with one voice – on and off the field. It will be my job, which is precisely this!”