Liverpool Football Club today announced that Ian Ayre is to step down as chief executive officer at the end of May 2017, when his current contract expires.
Ayre joined the club in 2007 as commercial director and the club’s board of directors in 2009, before being promoted to managing director in 2011 and chief executive in 2013. He is also the vice-chair of the Liverpool FC Foundation, the club’s official charity. His tenure has been characterised by leading a radical modernisation across the club and bringing much-needed stability following the Fenway Sports Group takeover in October 2010.
Highlights of Ayre’s leadership so far include overseeing a complete transformation of the club’s financial, commercial and operational structure; playing a pivotal role in progressing the redevelopment of Anfield stadium and regeneration of the local area; and successfully restoring Liverpool’s reputation as one of the leading clubs in English football.
Commenting on Ian’s decision, principal owner John W. Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon said: "Ian advised us of his intention to step down as CEO a few months ago.
"We asked him on several occasions to take some time to reconsider his decision, but have been unable to convince him to remain as CEO beyond May 2017. We will at some point in the near future begin identifying and recruiting a worthy successor to continue to build on the outstanding foundations which have been laid by Ian.
"Under his leadership, we have seen Liverpool transform from a club that was on the brink of bankruptcy, to one which today enjoys strong financial and operational health.
"Stability is a commodity often under-valued in sporting organisations, but it has been a fundamental hallmark of Ian’s time in charge. Liverpool will reap the benefits of his outstanding work for many years to come.
"We have always found Ian to be dedicated, honest, passionate and committed to doing the right thing for the long-term interests of the football club. These fit with our own values as owners and we owe him greatly for the personal sacrifices he has made for the club.
"It is typical of the person he is, once again, Ian is putting the club ahead of his own interest in wanting to announce his decision 15 months before he steps down. This now provides us with plenty of time and space to find a suitable successor."
“There will continue to be important milestones for Liverpool over the next 15 months, not least the completion of the redevelopment at Anfield stadium, and we are grateful that Ian will continue his leadership through to May 2017."
Ian Ayre, chief executive officer, added: "If becoming chief executive of Liverpool Football Club was the greatest honour of my professional life, then deciding to step down at the end of my current contract is by far the most difficult.
"Having the privilege to lead this great club comes with huge responsibility and challenge but one which I have relished and I feel proud of my achievements in the role. I believe the end of next season is the right time to pass the CEO baton on to a new person, who will take on the challenges and opportunities with a fresh enthusiasm and vigour. They will do so supported by what I believe to be the best ownership group in world sport and by a truly excellent team of staff throughout the football club.
"Having been brought up in the shadow of Anfield, I have found it the most profound privilege to serve the club I have supported all my life. The driving principle behind every decision I have taken during my time here has been to do the best for the long-term stability and health of this great football club. In the remaining 15 months I have as CEO, I will continue to provide FSG, Jürgen, the players and all the brilliant staff at Liverpool ongoing strategic leadership and a smooth transition."