Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

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Vinai Venkatesham


ARSENAL chief executive officer Vinai Venkatesham has been instrumental in transforming the club on and off the pitch so it came as a surprise to many when he announced he would be leaving at the end of this season. “It’s a hard decision to leave. You can sense from the passion in my voice how much I love the football club – I love what the club stands for, I love our values, I love the fans, I love the people we have working for the club,” Venkatesham tells the GG2 Power List.

“I think the job of a chief executive is to leave at a time when the club is in a great moment. If you leave at a time when the club isn’t doing so well, I don’t think many people will ask ‘why are you leaving?’, he laughs. Venkatesham joined Arsenal in 2010 as head of global partnerships before becoming chief commercial officer. In 2018, he was made managing director and later CEO, giving him the daunting challenge of steering the club after the departures of manager Arsene Wenger and CEO Ivan Gazidis. The 42-year-old admits it was a “period of great change” as Wenger had been at the club for 22 years and Gazidis for 10 years. “Arsene (Wenger) is obviously a remarkable manager and a wonderful human being – it was a real giant of the game leaving. Ivan was the chief executive when I joined and somebody that I had worked with for a long period of time,” said Venkatesham. “When I became chief executive, it was actually my sixth job at the club.

One of the really positive things when you are promoted internally, is it’s a real sign of trust. It’s a group of people that have worked with you a long

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