A brief introduction to Manchester United’s new interim CEO, Patrick Stewart – Man United News And Transfer News
Manchester United have announced that Patrick Stewart will become the new interim CEO of the club with immediate effect.
This news comes after Richard Arnold left the role on Wednesday morning. This will be seen as just the start of sweeping changes to take place across the footballing side of the club once Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS take control of sporting operations in the coming days.
According to The Athletic, Patrick Stewart has been at the club since 2006 and has experienced the rollercoaster ride of these years, from the highs of winning the Champions League to the lows of a decade in the wilderness and ferocious protests against the ownership.
Stewart started out at the club as chief legal officer and general counsel, which meant he was responsible for overseeing the club’s legal and regulatory affairs. One other major responsibility was managing relationships with key stakeholders, such as the Premier League.
Now, the relatively unknown character will be “thrust into the spotlight”, at least temporarily. It is widely believed that INEOS will want to hire their own CEO and names such as Jean-Claude Blanc have been widely discussed. The former PSG and Juventus employee has been labelled “the Lionel Messi of sports business.” That will get fans excited.
But for now, Stewart has been tasked with picking up the reigns in this transitional period, until INEOS have their deal ratified and get their feet under the table.
The Athletic paints a positive picture of a competent and intelligent man who you “wouldn’t expect to be too flustered by his new responsibilities”. The lawyer has spent 18 years at the club, carrying out a number of functions.
When he joined the club in 2006, he became one of the first in-house lawyers at a Premier League club and was tasked with setting up a legal department.
Dan Sheldon and Adam Crafton, the two writers of the article, claim that Stewart yields a lot of power already at the club as he signs off on almost everything, including first team player contract renewals and United’s recent record-breaking new commercial deal with German sport giant’s, Adidas.
Sources at the club portray the legal expert as “level-headed” and someone who “quietly and neutrally goes about their business”.
Stewart is certainly a busy man. Aside from travelling to most home and away games, the lawyer handles Premier League meetings and isn’t afraid to get into policy matters with the league. Moreover, he sits on numerous Premier League and Football Association committees. One such example is “NewCo”, which focuses on shaping the women’s professional game in the future.
The new interim CEO is also a member of the legal working group of the European Club Association, a body which represents professional teams under UEFA’s confederation. Additionally, he is an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for sport. Clearly, a man who is not frightened to have a lot on his plate.
Interestingly for United fans, Stewart was also on United’s much-maligned panel in the Mason Greenwood case that performed a dramatic U-turn in the summer when it decided to ditch its plans to re-integrate the young Englishman into the first team squad.
The Athletic summarises that whilst he won´t expect to get “too comfortable” in the chair, his 17-year Old Trafford career has “provided him with experience and nous to make his appointment to interim CEO a logical one”. Red Devils across the globe will hope he can smooth the way for a successful appointment by INEOS in the future.