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Who is new Man Utd CEO Richard Arnold? Red Devils' Ed Woodward replacement profiled

17:00 GMT+3 06/01/2022
Richard Arnold Manchester United
The Red Devils are making more changes behind the scenes, with the club’s executive vice-chairman stepping down from his role on February 1

Manchester United have confirmed that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is to leave his position on February 1, with Richard Arnold stepping up as chief executive officer.

Said changes behind the scenes have been on the cards for some time, with the Red Devils looking to freshen things up on and off the field following the decision to appoint Ralf Rangnick as interim successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the managerial department.

The hope is that a reversal in collective fortunes can be enjoyed, in the midst of a barren run on the trophy front, but who is Arnold and why is he being trusted with leading Premier League heavyweights towards a potentially brighter future? GOAL takes a look…

Who is Richard Arnold?

Richard Arnold joined United in 2007 and has been group managing director since 2013, a role which has seen him oversee all operational and commercial business at the club.

Before he got a job in football he worked in the technology sector and also for accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is where he became friends with Woodward.

The 50-year-old grew up in the north-west of England and, like Woodward, attended Bristol University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree, before later qualifying as a chartered accountant.

What is Richard Arnold’s new Man Utd role and will it involve transfers?

Arnold takes the position of chief executive officer (CEO) and the role that Woodward previously held as executive vice-chairman is now defunct.

The new football structure was put in place last year when John Murtough was appointed as football director and Darren Fletcher as technical director.

It is understood that Murtough will lead football decisions with assistance from Fletcher. Both will report to Arnold, but it is understood he will not have a hands-on approach when it comes to transfers.

Arnold pushed for Rangnick to be given the two-year consultancy role which has been included in his contract and will touch on his expertise and experience once he leaves his role as interim manager at the end of the 2021-22 season.

What will Richard Arnold’s salary be?

It is not known how much Arnold will earn when stepping up into a position as United’s CEO, but he will be pulling into an executive salary.

It was revealed in the Red Devils’ financial accounts for the 2019-20 season that Woodward had been paid £3.09 million that year – making him the highest-paid director in the Premier League.

Why is Ed Woodward leaving Man Utd?

Woodward replaced former Manchester United chief executive David Gill back in 2013.

Sir Alex Ferguson also headed out of the club that summer on the back of a 13th Premier League title triumph.

Woodward was unable to maintain the high standards of his predecessors, with FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League successes all that he has to show for his efforts.

United have remained a force to be reckoned with off the field, with marketing partners easy to find, but regression on the pitch will ultimately define Woodward’s tenure.

He has been forced to part with four managers that he appointed before their respective contracts came to a close – David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – and is set to leave with the Red Devils failing once again to mount a title challenge in 2021-22.

GOAL view – Charlotte Duncker, Man Utd correspondent

Arnold’s appointment is not a surprise and one that has been in the pipeline since Woodward announced he would be stepping down from his role last April.

The 50-year-old has been at the club for years in a commercial capacity and in that aspect he is well placed to carry on the overseeing of that branch.

He has already been savvy in trying to distance himself from football decisions, something which Woodward wished he had done at the start of his spell.

Arnold pushed for the structure to be changed with Murtough and Fletcher coming in as football director and technical director, respectively.

He will oversee both of them but it absolves him of big responsibility when it comes to transfer decisions. Which, given his background before he joined United was not in football, is a sensible decision.

The bigger changes at board level were made last year with the inaugural director of football. Don’t expect a major change of direction with Arnold’s new job title.

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