English Premiership

Man United CEO to step down

2013-02-20 15:25
David Gill (AFP)

London - David Gill is to step down as chief executive of Manchester United on June 30, the English football giants announced on Wednesday.

In a statement on the club's official website, the 55-year-old Gill said his post-season exit would allow the Premier League leaders to "refresh themselves with new management and ideas".

United added that executive vice chairman Ed Woodward would replace Gill.

Gill is a vice-chairman of England's governing Football Association and one of his country's most highly regarded football administrators.

United co-chairman Joel Glazer said Gill, who will remain on the board at Old Trafford, was stepping down in part to advance his bid for election to the executive committee of European football's governing body, UEFA.

Gill himself made no comment about his post-United future in the statement, saying only it had been a hard decision to end 16 years of day-to-day involvement at Old Trafford, having joined the club as financial director in 1997 before becoming chief executive in September 2003.

"I've experienced some incredible highs, such as the Treble in 1999 and the League and Champions League double in 2008, and lows, like losing the title with the last kick of the season last year," he said.

"But that is what makes this club and this sport so compelling. It has been a very hard decision because I love this club and, as the fans' banner says, it is, 'more than a religion'.

"However, I have always been conscious of the fact that, as a member of staff, I was always just a temporary custodian of this marvellous institution.

"I am also of the view that all businesses need to refresh themselves with new management and ideas and after 10 years in charge, I believe it is appropriate for someone new to pick up the baton."

United manager Alex Ferguson, who has been at Old Trafford since 1986, paid tribute to Gill.

"I have been at United for over 26 years and for 23 of those years, my boss has been one of only two men: Martin Edwards, who brought me to the club, and David Gill," he said. "I have enjoyed working with both.

"Him stepping down is a big loss to me but the fact that he is staying on the board encourages me that the reason for his departure is heartfelt, that he believes it is time for the club to move on."

Glazer gave his backing to Gill's attempt to be elected to UEFA's executive committee.

"I hope that the decision he has made will be to the benefit of the game in Europe as a whole, as he seeks election to UEFA's executive committee," he said.

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