Manchester United have appointed a new chief executive in the latest step by the fallen Premier League giants to regain their elite playing status and restore stability.
Richard Arnold has been promoted from group managing director to CEO, the top leadership role below members of the owning US-based Glazer family.
Arnold assumes the responsibilities of Ed Woodward, who leaves on February 1 having initially announced his departure last April amid the furore over United’s attempt to join the short-lived, ill-fated European Super League with five other English clubs.
“We are now looking forward to Richard and his leadership team opening a new phase in the club’s evolution,” said co-chairman Joel Glazer in a statement on Thursday.
He added that there were “ambitious plans for investment in Old Trafford, the strengthening of our engagement with fans, and continued drive towards our most important objective – winning on the pitch.”
Woodward had served as executive vice chairman since 2013 — the year United’s decline began with the retirement of Alex Ferguson as manager after 26 years and the Premier League trophy being won for a 13th and final time by the Scot.
The record 20-time English champions haven’t won the league since then.
The club, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, haven’t won any trophy since Jose Mourinho delivered the Europa League title in 2017.
His successor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was fired in December and Ralf Rangnick has been installed as interim manager until the end of the season.
Halfway through the season, United are seventh – 22 points behind neighbours Manchester City, who have usurped their position as serial winners with five Premier League triumphs in a decade.
United may have been in decline on the pitch but they’ve continued to be the Premier League’s biggest moneymakers, last season generating 494 million pounds ($A933 million).
The 50-year-old Arnold has been at United since 2007 having previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he met Woodward.
Arnold engineered with Woodward the growth of United’s commercial operations that helped to cover the cost of the debt the club was burdened with after the 2005 takeover by the Glazers.
They also oversaw a challenging period of squad rebuilding required after Ferguson and then-CEO David Gill stepped down in 2013.