Sir Jim Ratcliffe is on the verge of making his first major move since buying a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United after poaching Omar Berrada from rivals Manchester City to be the club’s new chief executive.
The Red Devils have been looking for a new permanent CEO since Richard Arnold announced he was stepping down at the backend of last year, with Patrick Stewart having taken on the role on an interim basis.
Although the Glazers still have majority ownership of United, the search for a new CEO has been led by Ineos even though it is not exclusively a sporting appointment – with their 25% stake ensuring control of sporting matters only.
They had been linked with a number of different names for the post, but now The Athletic are reporting that they have settled on Berrada in what is considered a major coup for the club.
The Spaniard has been part of the hierarchy at Manchester City since 2011, having previously been employed by Barcelona, and was initially commercial director for the club.
He has moved up through the ranks over the years and has been chief football operations officer at City Football Group – which oversees a host of different clubs, including, of course, City – until United made their move.
According to The Athletic, it was Ineos – not the Glazers – who identified and pursued Berrada but the family have given the move their endorsement and it is considered a joint decision.
Even though the Premier League still need to ratify Ratcliffe’s deal for United, he is already making his influence felt, while the nature of the deal – which has flown under the radar – speaks volumes about how Ineos operate behind the scenes.
While City have not confirmed that Berrada is moving to Old Trafford, they have released a statement revealing that the Spaniard has left the organisation.
A statement to The Athletic read: ‘Manchester City Football Club can confirm that Omar Berrada has resigned from his role as chief football operations officer at City Football Group.
‘The club understands his decision to look for a new challenge and he leaves with our thanks and best wishes.’
Berrada has been a key part of City’s recent success on and off the pitch and played a pivotal role in negotiations for Erling Haaland back in 2022, while he has also been fundamental to the development of City’s brilliant youth academy.
His track record within football, coupled with his business acumen, has made him the ideal candidate for United, and he will take executive leadership of both areas.
An official announcement from United should come soon and Berrada will be handed a seat on the board of directors.
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