Ineos Group’s Stake Acquisition Prompts Richard Arnold’s Departure and Interim Appointment of Patrick Stewart
According to sources at BBC Sport, Richard Arnold, the Chief Executive of Manchester United, is poised to exit the club. At 52 years of age, Arnold took on the role in February 2022, succeeding Ed Woodward. His impending leave aligns with Ineos Group, led by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, finalizing the purchase of a 25% stake in the Premier League powerhouse.
Although the departure has not been officially confirmed, Ineos Group is expected to pay around £1.25 billion for the minority acquisition, set to be ratified during November’s international break. During the transition period, the club will be represented at key meetings by General Counsel Patrick Stewart, who will step in as the interim chief executive.
The period of six to eight weeks between the announcement of the Ratcliffe deal and its Premier League confirmation will restrict Ratcliffe’s participation in club operations.
After 16 years with the club, Richard Arnold has chosen to step down as Chief Executive of Manchester United.#MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 15, 2023
Richard Arnold, who joined Manchester United in August 2007 and previously held the position of the club’s managing director, recently oversaw significant sponsorship deals with Adidas and Qualcomm. However, he faced criticism for his handling of the Mason Greenwood situation, with conflicting messages regarding the player’s status after legal issues.
Arnold’s tenure included notable successes such as the appointment of the current manager, Erik ten Hag, leading to a Carabao Cup victory. However, it was also marred by challenges, including a turbulent 2022-23 season with the dismissal of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and a sixth-place finish.
Arnold’s departure comes at a time of ongoing fan protests against the Glazer family’s ownership, with discontent expressed in various forms, including a significant incident in May 2021 resulting in the postponement of a league match against Liverpool.
For now, Manchester United is in a phase of transition in both its executive leadership and ownership structure, with more details expected to emerge in the weeks ahead.