Arsenal promotes marketing director to top commercial role

Arsenal FC has promoted sales and marketing director Vinai Venkatesham to its top commercial role following chief commercial officer Tom Fox’s departure to become Aston Villa’s chief executive.

Arsenal FA Cup
Arsenal, winners of the 2014 FA Cup, has appointed Vinai Venkatesham to its chief commercial officer role.

In his new role, Venkatesham will expand his current responsibilities for partnerships, hospitality, marketing, CRM and business strategy to overseeing the retail and media teams.

Arsenal was the eighth biggest-earning football club in world over the 2012/13 season, generating €284.3m in revenue, according to the latest Deloitte Football Money League data.

Venkatesham joined the club four years ago and sits on the Arsenal executive team and the board of Arsenal Broadband, which owns the club’s media rights.

He was instrumental in negotiating recent lucrative partnerships such as the club’s biggest ever sponsorship deal with Puma and the contract renewal with Emirates, Arsenal says.

Prior to working at Arsenal, Venkatesham served as commercial manager for the London 2012 Olympic Organising Committee, where he helped land various sponsorship, merchandising, hospitality and broadcast deals with brands including Adidas, BT, Cadbury, Channel 4 and Thomas Cook.

Arsenal has not yet decided whether to replace the vacant sales and marketing director role, a spokesman told Marketing Week. Charles Allen currently serves as the club’s head of marketing.

Arsenal’s former chief commercial officer Tom Fox, one of Marketing Week’s Vision 100 marketers, is leaving to replace Paul Faulkner as Aston Villa’s chief executive officer.

Aston Villa’s owner Randy Lerner put the club up for sale at the end of the last Premier League season and will be looking to Fox to take on a role that oversees both the club’s performance on the pitch and commercial activities as it looks to “close a chapter” on a period of heavy losses.

In Aston Villa’s most recent accounts for the year ending 31 May 2013, the club posted a £51.8m annual loss. Turnover increased by £3.3m to £83.7m, with the club crediting its improved Premier League position (15th from 16th in 2011/12), higher home attendance and its progress into the Capital One semi-final for the income boost.

Fox joined Arsenal in 2009. He has previously held roles as principal of the Wasserman Media Group, senior vice president of sports marketing for PepsiCo drinks brand Gatorade and was director of the Asia Pacific and US sports marketing for Nike.

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