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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 September, 2003, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Man Utd chief joins Chelsea
Man Utd chief executive Peter Kenyon will join Chelsea
Kenyon cannot join Chelsea until his Man Utd contract expires
Chelsea and Manchester United have both confirmed their new chief executives to the Stock Exchange in the wake of Peter Kenyon's defection to Stamford Bridge.

United told the City on Tuesday their managing director David Gill would replace Kenyon "with immediate effect".

Chelsea issued a statement shortly after saying that Kenyon would become their new chief executive, with his role in west London "set to commence as permitted by contractual arrangements" at Old Trafford.

That means 49-year-old Kenyon will have to serve a period of "gardening leave" at United before he is free to take up the role as chief executive of Chelsea Village PLC - parent company of Chelsea Football Club.

It is uncertain how his appointment will affect current Blues chief executive Trevor Birch.

Kenyon also relinquishes his place as vice-chairman of G14, Europe's elite group of 18 clubs, with Gill taking his role.

Kenyon will become the latest arrival at Chelsea following the takeover of the club by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea's summer transfer spree has seen them spend more than 111m on players.

Kenyon's solicitors confirmed in a statement that he had accepted Chelsea's offer.

1997: Joins Man Utd as deputy chief executive
2000: Becomes chief executive. Seals 30m sponsorship deal with Vodafone
2001: New deal for Sir Alex Ferguson. Signs Juan Sebastian Veron (28m) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (19m)
2002: Signs Rio Ferdinand for 30m
2003: Sells David Beckham to Real Madrid

It read: "Peter Kenyon has recently been offered the job of Chief Executive Officer of the Chelsea group of companies, a position that he has accepted.

"The new opportunity that has arisen at Chelsea represents a challenge that Mr Kenyon feels is right to take at this stage in his career."

Shares in United fell 5.6% to 168 pence in Tuesday trading. Following the Abramovich takeover, Chelsea shares are no longer traded.

A United statement on Monday read: "The board of Manchester United plc is delighted to announce the appointment of David Gill as its new chief executive with immediate effect, to replace Peter Kenyon who has resigned today.

New Manchester United chief executive David Gill
Gill will take the reigns at United

"Mr Kenyon will now go on garden leave in accordance with the terms of his contract."

Manchester United PLC chairman Sir Roy Gardner added: "We would like to thank Peter for his significant contribution to the success of Manchester United on and off the pitch in the last six years.

"David, as managing director, has also played a major role in that success, and we are delighted that his appointment will bring both experience and continuity to this position."

Gill, 46, admitted that Kenyon's decision to quit Old Trafford had come as a shock.

"It was a bolt out of the blue but we have to move on," he told MUTV.

"I've worked with Alex [Ferguson] for six-and-a-half years on all the big deals and I believe that I can develop the same close relationship with him that Peter had."

1997: Joins Manchester United PLC as finance director from First Choice Holidays
Aug 2000: Appointed deputy chief executive, replacing Peter Kenyon who is made chief executive
July 2001: Promoted to group managing director

Kenyon's defection met with an angry response from an influential United fans group.

Oliver Huston, spokesman for Shareholders United, the Manchester United Supporters Trust, questioned Kenyon's loyalty to the club he has supported since his father took him to watch their European Cup final triumph in 1968.

"Peter Kenyon has always made great play of his loyalty to the club and his dyed-in-the-wool support for Manchester United - how sad that his loyalty appears to have been so easily bought," Huston said.

Kenyon took over from Martin Edwards at Old Trafford in August 2000 and was instrumental in persuading manager Sir Alex Ferguson to extend his stay at the club.

He also presided over the signings of Juan Sebastian Veron, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Rio Ferdinand, and played a key part in securing sponsorship deals with Vodafone and Nike.

Former Chelsea chief executive Colin Hutchinson admitted he was "flabbergasted" at the move, but believes it will be a huge boost for the Blues.

"He is a very good businessman," Hutchinson said. "What he has done commercially for United has made them streets ahead in England.

"Having Peter on board should help make Chelsea a truly global brand."

BBC'S Jenny Scott
"It came out of the blue, the Chelsea blue"

Former Chelsea chief exec Colin Hutchinson
"It's unbelievable, they've got the number one chief executive"

Will Man Utd suffer without Peter Kenyon?
5847 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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