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Man Utd CEO Richard Arnold to Exit as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Stake Deal Nears Completion

Manchester United’s chief executive, Richard Arnold, is set to depart the club after 16 years, coinciding with Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s impending acquisition of a 25% stake in the Old Trafford side for £1.25bn. Arnold, who took over from Ed Woodward in February 2022, will offer “transitional support” until the end of December. The completion of Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group deal is expected during November’s international break, with an official announcement pending. General counsel Patrick Stewart will serve as interim chief executive, overseeing the transition period as the club seeks a permanent replacement for Arnold.

Arnold expressed his gratitude for the privilege of serving the football club, acknowledging the dedication of employees and fans. Patrick Stewart, who has been with United since 2006, will step into the interim role, representing the club at various meetings and managing legal affairs. The duration of Stewart’s interim position remains uncertain amidst ongoing restructuring at Old Trafford.

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Joel Glazer, United co-chairman, thanked Arnold for his 16 years of outstanding service and wished him well in his future endeavors. Glazer expressed confidence in Stewart’s ability to provide interim stability and continuity, emphasizing the search for a new permanent CEO.

During Arnold’s tenure, he played a pivotal role in securing significant sponsorship agreements with Adidas and Qualcomm. However, criticism arose over his handling of the Mason Greenwood situation, where initial indications of reintegration were later reversed. Arnold also faced challenges during a turbulent season that led to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking and a sixth-place finish. Last summer, Arnold oversaw the appointment of current manager Erik ten Hag, who secured the club’s first trophy in six years with a Carabao Cup win. The club’s recent struggles in the 2023-24 season have led to continued fan protests against the Glazer family’s ownership, reflecting a challenging period for Manchester United.

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