Arsenal appoint Raul Sanllehi as 'head of football' with Vinai Venkatesham overseeing 'business operations' after restructure following Ivan Gazidis departure
PUBLISHED: 11:49 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:40 18 September 2018
Former Barcelona bigwig Raul Sanllehi has become ‘head of football’ at Arsenal after Ivan Gazidis confirmed his departure to AC Milan on Tuesday morning.
Gazidis left his position as CEO after being headhunted by the hedge fund owners of the Rossoneri, Elliot Management – with Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham replacing him.
Gazidis headed the North London giants for a decade and assumed the role of kingmaker when appointing head coach Unai Emery’s in May after Arsene Wenger’s departure.
The appointments are described as internal promotions by the Gunners, with Sanllehi having joined as head of football relations in February after spending 16 years at the Nou Camp.
Arsenal’s statement on the appointment on Tuesday said the former Barca man will lead the club’s ‘football activities’ while Venkatesham will oversee ‘all business operations’.
Sanllehi told the club website: “Although I joined Arsenal just months ago, I’ve felt embraced by this great club and part of its family from the first day.
“I will do everything possible to maintain our strong values which will be as fundamental to our future as they have been in our past.
“I sincerely thank Arsenal’s board for their trust in us and thank Ivan for bringing me to this great club, and for consistently supporting me every day, in every way. It’s with overwhelming pride and utmost excitement that I face this new opportunity.’
Venkatesham had been chief commercial director since 2010, after working for the London 2012 Olympic organising committee.
He added: “From the day I joined Arsenal I have always considered it a privilege to serve this great football club, so it’s an honour to take up the position of managing director and lead the club alongside Raul.”
Follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29