The exact workings of the Chelsea front office are generally a mystery to us outsiders, but it sounds like Chelsea have appointed someone to finally take over Ron Gourlay’s old role of CEO, which is something Chelsea haven’t had since he left over three years ago. Welcome, Guy Laurence.
Chelsea Football Club today announces the appointment of Guy Laurence as our new Chief Executive... https://t.co/vp8pjKc5pt— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 11, 2018
Directors Bruce Buck and Marina Granovskaia had been in charge of Chelsea’s day-to-day operations since Gourlay stood down in October 2014. While Chelsea did hire Christian Purslow soon after to take over the running of Chelsea commercial activities (he was recently replaced by Chris Townsend), Granovskaia’s responsibilities had grown steadily over the years. After Michael Emenalo absconded to Monaco earlier this season, she had even become the club’s de facto technical director.
So the hiring of a new CEO is part of the re-shuffle that’s been mooted since Emenalo’s departure, though it’s not quite clear what that means for Granovskaia’s exact future role or how that might impact any direct replacement hires for Emenalo.
For now, here is Guy Laurence, the former head of Rogers in Canada and Vodafone in the UK, as well as the director of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment for three years. MLSE own the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), the Toronto Marlies (AHL), the Toronto Raptors (NBA), and current MLS champions and last year’s runners-up, Toronto FC. Certainly a strong pedigree, overqualified, even, as our good friend Jake Cohen pointed out on Twitter.
Chelsea’s appointment of Guy Laurence continues both the recent club trend of convincing highly overqualified people to join Mr. Abramovich and the board (Chris Townsend, Christian Purslow) as well as the league trend of hiring top digital + media execs (Peter Moore, Phil Lynch). https://t.co/WHBMycD37r— Jake Cohen (@JakeFCohen) January 11, 2018
Why is Guy Laurence overqualified? Most recent job was CEO of a company with £10 billion+ in annual revenues and he personally earned over £35m in 4 years in that role.— Jake Cohen (@JakeFCohen) January 11, 2018
For context, Chelsea had highest-earning year in 2016/17 + revenues were <3% of company Laurence recently left
Laurence will report to the Chelsea Board — i.e. Buck, Granovskaia, Tenenbaum — and will, as per the official announcement, “take overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the club, including the continuing development of our commercial activities in the UK and around the world, focusing on increasing club revenues”.
“We look forward to Guy joining the club during an exciting period for Chelsea on and off the field. He will be working with the owner and the Board to increase our commercial revenues and maximise digital opportunities, identifying new ways to best serve our supporters here in the UK and further grow our international fan base.”
-Bruce Buck, Chairman of the Board; source: Chelsea FC