Interesting old development that came out yesterday regarding Vinai Venkatesham leaving Arsenal in the summer of next year, eh?
I don’t normally concern myself with the boardroom stuff as I’m not sure that it really matters too much in terms of the immediate future on the pitch and I don’t tend to think about Arsenal in a business “three to five year plan” sense. That’s what the people inside the club are responsible for and I’m just happy to be a simpleton fan who just concerns himself with what team Arsenal bring out for match days. But this is a move that I think is quite interesting, because it comes at a time in which there is a lot of harmony at the club, we appear really well run, it looks like there is a lot of alignment between all the players, coaching staff and football admin team. So to have the guy at the top of the tree stepping down shows that either perhaps all is not as it appears. It could be that the objectives of the club are not quite being met and KSE are exerting pressure for a change. Or it could be that Vinai himself has decided that he’s had enough. Whatever the real reason, it does leave a little bit of uncertainty over the long term future.
It’s inevitable that there might be a few people questioning this and maybe there are a few concerned people from within the club. Change in business is inevitable, but change also brings about uncertainty and worry for some people. If we’re looking on the up side, then the fact Arsenal are announcing it now is good because the cards are on the table and they can start the process of finding a successor. The fact it is such a long lead time suggests that maybe Vinai just fancies doing something else, because otherwise the club would probably not say anything, be working on a replacement and then we’d just get an announcement. Maybe contractually he has a length notice period of 12 months and he knew that he had to serve it now before moving on. But three year’s as a CEO is not a long time. If you’re a CEO in a job for just three years it suggests that something hasn’t quite gone right. This article here from Harvard Law School suggests that the average length a CEO stays in that position is just over seven years. I know that is in business and therefore not quite the same as football, which is kind of it’s own bubble, but still, that feels a little short to me.
Maybe the commercial side of the business isn’t want KSE wanted? Maybe some of the deals we had were not in line with what they were thinking or, perhaps, the revenues that the club brought in this summer as a result of a lack of outgoing players, meant that somebody had to carry the can? I think that’s probably a bit of a stretch if I’m honest, because it is Edu’s responsibility to focus on the incoming and outgoings, but Vinai is technically at the top of the operating side of the organisation and when a business doesn’t hit its financial targets quite often you see that the one that pays for it is the guy with overarching responsibility. Maybe the Tim Lewis arrival, which had happened just a few months before, had something to do with it? I think if that was the case he might have been inn KSE’s ears a little quicker than three years telling them that he wasn’t the right man for the job, however. Then there’s also the fact he’s been at Arsenal in different roles for 13 years already – maybe he’s just done his stint and fancies working in another business? After all, it’s a job for him and I can hardly talk – the longest I’ve ever lasted in one company is six-and-a-half years!
As it’s probably quite obvious given all of the questions I keep asking myself, this one feels like a tough one to read, but whatever happens we know that whoever comes in will be taking over a club that feels a lot more stable than the one that Venkatesham took over in 2020. And the fact that I didn’t really great this news with the same delight as when Gazidis announced he was leaving, suggests to me that he clearly didn’t do that bad of a job. Let’s hope his final legacy at Arsenal will be to see the club lift either the Premier League, Champions League, or maybe even both!
Other than that there isn’t really a lot going on. We’ll get Arteta’s presser today at some stage and that’ll give us a few indications of who is fit, but as usual, probably not a lot. We wouldn’t want to let Sean Dyche know anything specific about what Arteta has up his sleeve for Sunday now, would we??
Right, I’m offski for today. You have yourself a good one and I’ll be back tomorrow with an over-analysis of every word Mikel said.