Everton announce restructure of its Executive Leadership team and changes to its Board, effective from 1 June 2018.
- Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale promoted to Chief Executive
- Dr Keith Harris to become Club’s Deputy Chairman
- Alexander Ryazantsev to take up Chief Finance and Commercial Officer role
- Current Chief Executive, Robert Elstone, to depart for Super League
Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale will take over from Robert Elstone as Everton’s Chief Executive Officer from 1 June. Professor Barrett-Baxendale, who is currently the Club’s Deputy Chief Executive with responsibility for Human Resources, Marketing and Media, Legal, Risk and Governance, Operations and Ticketing, has also played an increasing role in the running of the Club’s Football Operations, including involvement with the first-team, Under-23s, the Club’s hugely successful Academy set-up and is the Club’s lead on the Goodison Park legacy project.
Professor Barrett-Baxendale joined Everton in the Community in 2010 as Chief Executive Officer before being promoted to Chief Operating Officer at the Club and Deputy Chief Executive in 2013. In this period she has led numerous initiatives, including enhancing the matchday experience and fan engagement which have contributed to record-breaking attendances over recent seasons. She has also taken the lead in establishing new departments including Fan Services, Legal, Risk and Governance and the Club’s first Disability Liaison team. She has also transformed Everton in the Community into one of the world’s leading sports charities and in 2014 was awarded an MBE for her services to the Community.
On her promotion to the Chief Executive Officer role, Professor Barrett-Baxendale said: “I am so proud to be given this opportunity and grateful for the support of the Chairman, Board of Directors and Mr Moshiri. I fully understand the privileged position that I will be taking up and the responsibilities that come with it. This is a great Club – footballing royalty - with the best, most committed fans and I can assure every single Evertonian that I am completely committed to driving our Club forward and making the most of the opportunities that we have. I know what the priorities are and I’m determined that we make progress in these areas. It’s also important to me that we make our progress in the right way - in the ‘Everton way’ - and this includes listening, consulting and collaborating on all important Club matters.”
There will also be a change on the Club’s Board of Directors, with Dr Keith Harris becoming Deputy Chairman in place of Jon Woods who will remain on the Board. Dr Harris, who has been on the Club’s Board since 2016, has held senior executive and Board-level roles with several Blue-Chip organisations in both the UK and USA, including Morgan Grenfell (Deutsche Bank), Drexel Burnham Lambert, Apax Partners, HSBC Investment Bank - as Chief Executive – and Seymour Pierce where he was Chairman and Principal Owner. He was also Chairman of the Football League between 2000 and 2002. In addition to taking up additional responsibilities as Deputy Chair, Dr Harris will be the Board Member responsible for driving the Club’s new stadium project forward, an area in which he has vast experience from his time as Director of Wembley National Stadium Limited, owner of Wembley Stadium, between 2001 and 2007.
Commenting on his appointment to Deputy Chairman, Dr Harris said: “I am looking forward to taking a more senior role in the overall running of the Club at Board level and to be taking the lead in some of the Club’s most important projects, from first-team football matters to the new stadium project. The opportunity we have at Bramley-Moore Dock is potentially one of the most significant in the Club’s history. Through my previous involvement in Wembley, I understand both the opportunities and the complexities in delivering a new stadium. While we still have some significant hurdles to overcome, we’re all fully committed to making this happen as quickly and efficiently as we possibly can.”
Alexander (Sasha) Ryazantsev, will join the Executive Leadership team from 1 June and will take responsibility for the Club’s Financial and Commercial performance. Sasha has been a member of Everton’s Board of Directors since March 2016 and has mainly focused on relationships with creditors and investors, most notably being responsible for attracting the £60m Revolving Credit Facility from ICBC, the world’s largest bank by assets.
Mr Ryazantsev said: “I’m really pleased to be taking up the position of Chief Finance and Commercial Officer and to be supporting Denise in the running of this great Football Club. We’re all fully committed to making the most of the opportunities we have, including growing our commercial revenues and delivering a new stadium, while ensuring we run the business in a sustainable way. This new structure presents us with clear lines of responsibility and accountability and provides us with a strong platform to move forward from. I’m very excited to be a part of it.”
Departing Chief Executive Robert Elstone, who joined Everton as Deputy Chief Executive in 2005 before becoming Chief Executive in 2009, has led the growth, development and reputation of the Club over that period. In setting a very clear vision for Everton, he has been instrumental in Club strategy and has helped to build a Club widely respected for its fan and community engagement. He is highly regarded across the international football community.
He has led the Club’s new stadium project, defining the ‘Key Principles’ which will underpin a football and fan-centric new stadium design and reached an agreement in principle for a loan from Liverpool City Council which will contribute significantly to the costs of delivering the scheme at Bramley-Moore Dock.
Robert has also overseen significant commercial growth, including securing Club-record main partner and retail contracts, and building enduring partnerships with Chang, Fanatics and Umbro.
He has championed the affordable football that has seen Goodison Park full every week, breaking its Premier League attendance records and encouraging record numbers of young fans through the turnstiles. He was a key player in the introduction of the Premier League’s £30 away ticket price cap, introduced for the 2016/17 season and a driving force behind the establishment of the Club’s envied fan engagement strategies.
On leaving Everton, Mr Elstone said: “I have enjoyed 13 wonderful years here and feel privileged to have been able to play a significant role in the development of such a great Club. I will leave with many great memories, all shared with fantastic and talented colleagues.
“I have always said I am proud to have been given such an important custodial role and I leave a Club with a very clear sense of purpose and identity; one that places its fans ‘front and centre’ in all its decisions.
“Mark Chapman described us, again, as a proper Football Club. To have played a part in that makes me proud. To have had the opportunity to work for a Proper Club, makes me feel very privileged.
“I would like to thank the Chairman, my colleagues on the Board and Mr Moshiri for giving me the opportunity to lead such an amazing Football Club. I will always be grateful for such a rare, exciting and privileged opportunity.”
Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright commented: “We are sad to see Robert leave the Club and wish him nothing but success. Robert has obviously been a passionate Evertonian since the day he first set foot here, but I have always known that his enduring love has been Rugby League. And we wish him well in his new role leading his favourite sport. Robert has run the Club wisely and well, throughout his time as our Chief Executive, and has become one of the most respected in the game. I will personally miss him for all the help he gave me, particularly on difficult transfer negotiations – and for the stability he brought to the Club throughout his time here. Thank you, Robert.
“My feelings about Denise are well known. She is a powerhouse and has my admiration and respect. The work that she has done for this Club, and particularly with our Community programme, has been monumental, and I’m more than pleased that she will help lead the Club to a new future. She has, and always has had, my total endorsement. I also congratulate Keith and Sasha on their new roles.”
Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s Major Shareholder, added: “I have been extremely impressed by the impact Denise has made in her time at Everton and Everton in the Community. She knows how to get results and I admire the way she goes about getting them. Her experience in football and business combined with her drive and ambition gives me complete confidence that she will be able to take all areas of the Club forward. I must also thank Robert for his valuable contribution to the Club over the past 13 years and wish him every success in his new role.”