Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2021

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Vinai Venkatesham


ARSENAL have been on a rollercoaster ride for some years now – having ended the tripartite management model it experimented with for two years – but off the pitch it has been a steady rise for Vinai Venkatesham who became the club’s chief executive in August 2020.

The model had Venkatesham in a key role –in the newly created position of a managing director – along with Raul Sanllehi, who joined in February 2018 from FC Barcelona as director of football relations, and head coach Unai Emery, specifically responsible for the performance of the first team. The structure was an effort to manage the transition following the departure of two giants from the club in 2018 – manager of 22 years, Arsène Wenger, and chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

With the club finding a new lease of life under its current manager Mikel Arteta – who took charge in December 2019 – and winning the FA Cup and Community Shield in 2020, the Gunners reverted to the operational model of the Wenger-era after Sanllehi decided to leave.

“We have no doubt that Vinai is the right person to take the club forward,” said Stan and Josh Kroenke, owners of the club.

“He has shown outstanding leadership during the current crisis and is held in high regard internally and externally.

We know everyone will rally round him so we can move forward successfully.”

Venkatesham now has the executive responsibility for matters on and off the pitch, and oversees a three-man team responsible for all football affairs while Arteta works closely with technical director Edu Gasper – both former captains – and academy manager Per Mertesacker.

As the club endures what its life president Ken Friar – who has been at Arsenal for 70 years – terms the toughest period they have ever

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