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Chelsea hires new chief executive

Chelsea hires new chief executive

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By: SportBusiness International team

11 Jan 2018
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English Premier League football club Chelsea has today (Thursday) announced the appointment of Guy Laurence as its new chief executive.

Laurence will commence his position with the reigning Premier League champions at the start of February. He will report directly to the London club’s board of directors and take overall responsibility for day-to-day operations, including the continuing development of Chelsea’s commercial activities in the UK and around the world, focusing on increasing club revenues.

Laurence most recently served as president and chief executive of Canadian telco Rogers Communications. He has also previously held several senior positions within telco group Vodafone, including chief executive of Vodafone UK. 

Laurence also has experience in sport, having been a director of North American entity Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), which owns NHL ice hockey team the Toronto Maple Leafs, NBA basketball franchise the Toronto Raptors and Major League Soccer outfit Toronto FC.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: “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 (Roman Abramovich) 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.”

Chelsea last month reported record turnover of £361.3m (€405.9m/$489.7m) for the year ending June 30, 2017, following its title-winning season in 2016-17. The figure represented an increase of 9.8 per cent from the previous year’s turnover of £329.1m. Chelsea also posted a profit of £15.3m for the year ending June 30, 2017.

Chelsea cited commercial partnerships with the likes of energy drink company Carabao as a key factor in driving the club’s revenue during 2016-17. Carabao became a principal partner and the official training wear partner of the club ahead of the 2016-17 season as part of a three-year deal that concludes at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Chelsea recorded an operating loss for the year, but reported an overall profit after bringing in £69.2m in player sales. Brazilian international Oscar was the most notable outgoing, joining Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG for a reported fee of £60m during the 2016-17 winter transfer window.

Chelsea has projected that overall revenues will grow further for the 2017-18 financial year due to the club’s resumed participation in the Uefa Champions League and a new technical partnership with US sportswear company Nike, which commenced on July 1, 2017.

Chelsea was given the green light to expand its Stamford Bridge home in January 2017. The project plans on increasing the stadium’s capacity from 41,500 to about 60,000.

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