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Liverpool FC CEO Ian Ayre to Step Down May 2017, Despite Owners' Persuasion to Stay

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(Credit: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images) LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22: Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre looks on prior to the UEFA Europa League Group A match between Liverpool FC and BSC Young Boys at Anfield on November 22, 2012 in Liverpool, England.
Liverpool FC v BSC Young Boys - UEFA Europa League
March 15
6:43 AM 2016

Liverpool Football Club announced that its CEO Ian Ayre will leave its position when his current contract ends at the end of May 2017. Reports said that owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) has been trying to persuade him into staying but doesn't succeed. 

Ayre became the club's chief executive in 2013 before previously served as managing director in 2011. He joined the club in 2007 as a commercial director and was appointed as a member of the club's directors board in 2009. His leadership has been cherished as he led a radical modernization across the club and contribute to the Fenway Sports Group takeover in 2010.

"If becoming chief executive of Liverpool Football Club was the greatest honor of my professional life, then deciding to step down at the end of my current contract is by far the most difficult," Ayre said, as released by the Liverpool FC official website. "Having the privilege to lead this great club comes with huge responsibility and challenge but one which I have relished and I feel proud of my achievements in the role," he added. Ayre also noted that he believes the new CEO will take on challenges and opportunities with a fresh enthusiasm and vigor, as well as support the group and team of staff.

According to ESPN FC, owners Fenway Sports Group has been persuading him to stay as the club's CEO ever since he advised them of his intention to step down as CEO a few months ago. "We asked him on several occasions to take some time to reconsider his decision but have been unable to convince him to remain as CEO beyond May of 2017," said an official joint statement from FSG principal owner John W Henry, chairman Tom Werner, and president Mike Gordon.

The owners then acknowledge Ayre's efforts during the leadership, saying that Liverpool has been transformed from a club that was on the brink of bankruptcy to one that enjoy strong financial and operational health under his leadership. "Stability is a commodity often under-valued in sporting organizations but it has been a fundamental hallmark of Ian's time in charge. Liverpool will reap the benefits of his outstanding work for many years to come."

Ayre came under attack for Liverpool's decision to charge £77 for some tickets last month, as reported by Independent. The high ticket price has prompted a mass walkout of fans. However, the club owners believe that the blame's on the company and that they should bear responsibility for failing to listen to supporters' representatives.

It's likely that FSG will find another advisory role for Ayre. He still got another 15 months to serve as the club's CEO and he has promised to do his best in the remaining time. Ayre will leave his position as Liverpool FC CEO in May next year. 

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