More changes are afoot at Chelsea Football Club, and this one has some outside visibility as well, with a familiar face set to depart. Director of Communications (press officer, to me and you) Steve Atkins is leaving the club, and joining McLaren Racing in a similar role. (He’s set to start there on December 1, and will continue to support the transition to his successor at Chelsea until then.)
If you’ve watched a Chelsea press conference in the last decade, you probably have seen Atkins on the edge of the frame, casting his watchful eye over the proceedings. Occasionally, he’s had to step in as well to deliver official communications or statements, usually about sticky, awkward, controversial, or reprehensible situations. And that’s just scratching the surface of his responsibilities.
In the official announcement of his departure, his impact on the club is summed up thusly:
“In his time at Chelsea, Steve helped develop the club’s communications into a deft, authoritative, and world-leading operation, working confidently and at pace under some of the most intense media scrutiny in global sport, while promoting a culture of greater collaboration and engagement across all departments within the business.”
As far as sentences in official communiqués go, that’s about as good as it gets. Going out on top, that Steve!
Atkins has been with Chelsea for 14 years, and has been the head of the Public Affairs department since 2010. There’s no official word on who might replace him, whether we’re going to promote internally or hire someone from City Football Group or Red Bull, which seems to be plan A, B, C, and Z when it comes to such things (case in point: Toby Craig).
The replacement is already lined up with Toby Craig (ex-Manchester City) to come in.— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) September 22, 2022
CEO Tom Glick has brought a lot of former City staff into senior positions at Chelsea now.