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Wenger hails new chief executive

Ivan Gazidis
Gazidis will assume many of the roles previously held by David Dein

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has praised the appointment of former Major League Soccer deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis as the club's new chief executive.

The 44-year-old starts work in January and will take responsibility for duties such as player talks and contracts.

"We have got a competent man who knows that to survive in this league you need to love the game," said Wenger.

"This is a job under extreme pressure - he has experience and is the right age to take over a job of that dimension."

The Frenchman added: "It is important for the club to get someone like that because we always relied on (acting managing director) Ken Friar, who had to do absolutely everything and that's too much for one man, so he will take over the negotiation role from me."

Gazidis succeeds Keith Edelman and will take on much of the workload previously handled by former vice-chairman David Dein.

It is evident that he has a wealth of business acumen together with a broad knowledge of football

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood

The South Africa-born Oxford graduate said: "I'm delighted to bring my 14 years' experience with MLS to a club rich in heritage and tradition.

"It may have been 15 years since I left (the UK), but I'm looking forward to returning.

"I have been privileged in my 14 years with MLS to have worked with and for some of the best sports executives and owners in the world, whose vision, commitment and expertise have taken the league from strength to strength and provided a solid platform for future growth.

"I am delighted to be offered the opportunity to bring that experience to bear at Arsenal - a club that is superbly positioned for success in the modern era."

Club chairman Peter Hill-Wood added: "Ivan's credentials are first class.


"It is evident that he has a wealth of business acumen together with a broad knowledge of football that will not only help to maintain Arsenal's pre-eminent standing but enhance our reputation within the football community and international commercial markets."

Dein left the club in April 2007 when his support of a takeover by American billionaire Stan Kroenke was vetoed by the club board.

Managing director Edelman, another key figure in the Gunners' move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium, departed in May 2008 after eight years at the club.

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see also
Win steadies ship, states Wenger
26 Nov 08 |  Arsenal
Edelman makes shock Arsenal exit
01 May 08 |  Arsenal
David Dein - the fall-out
19 Apr 07 |  Arsenal

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