Former consultant Vinai Venkatesham takes charge of Gunners

05 October 2018 3 min. read

Former Deloitte consultant Vinai Venkatesham has taken up the reins as Managing Director at Arsenal Football Club, with the North London soccer institution going through a period of transition. Earlier in 2018, the Gunners were the subject of a £600 million take-over by US sports magnate Stan Kroenke.

Following the news that holding group KSE would seek to take 100% control of the club, Arsenal has rung the changes at the top of its organisation. In late September, Ivan Gazidis, the long-time Chief Executive Officer of the Gunners, stated his intent to exit, after a decade at the helm. 

As he takes up a new role at Italian footballing giant AC Milan, Gazidis is not to be directly replaced in the role. Instead, a new position has been created, with Vinai Venkatesham taking up the post of Managing Director at the club. Venkatesham was previously Chief Commercial Officer at Arsenal, having first arrived in North London in 2010.

Former consultant Vinai Venkatesham takes charge of Gunners

Prior to his time with the club, Venkatesham has enjoyed a diverse career, across multiple industries. He commenced professional life as an oil trader with Mitsui Bussan Commodities in 2002, following a summer internship as an Associate with consulting firm L.E.K. In 2003, he went on to join the consultancy arm of Big Four firm Deloitte as a Strategy Consultant, where he specialised in Financial Services and TMT (Technology, Media and Telecommunications) practices for the next three years.

Venkatesham then landed a leadership role on the London 2012 Olympic Committee. As Commercial Manager, he led negotiations for various sponsorship, hospitality, merchandising and broadcast deals including Adidas, BT, Cadbury, Adecco, Channel 4, Thomas Cook and Prestige Hospitality. While he left the role in 2010 to join Arsenal, Venkatesham remains a Non-Executive Director of the British Olympic Association to this day, alongside a number of other board roles, including Non-Executive Director of 2017 IAAF World Championships & World ParaAthletics Championships, and global media business Dugout.

After being announced as the new Managing Director, Venkatesham told, “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 [Sanllehi]. Together we will work tirelessly with the extraordinary staff we have at Arsenal to respect and enhance our unique history, heritage and values; with the overall objective to bring success to our millions of fans all around the world and make them proud of their club.”

As part of the same shake-up that sees Venkatesham take up his role as Managing Director, Sanllehi was promoted from Head of Football Relations to Head of Football, with Huss Fahmy the club's Chief Contract Negotiator providing assistance to his duties.