Liverpool Appoints Ian Ayre As Managing Director, Promotes Damien Comolli to Director of Football


March 22, 2011

Liverpool ownership made two major moves on Tuesday, naming club commercial director Ian Ayre to the post of club managing director, and promoting Damien Comolli from director of football strategy to director of football, according to

Principal Owner John Henry had the following to say about Ayre's appointment:

"Ian has enormous experience gained from his work in the sports and media businesses over the past 15 years and we are delighted today to announce this significant appointment.  We conducted an extensive recruitment search and met with outstanding candidates who sought this role but in the end, after having worked with Ian and other top executives within the club, we realised that Ian had all of the attributes necessary to lead the Club forward. 

"Ian has been doing an outstanding job driving commercial revenues and has a proven track record in successfully leading and developing businesses in a number of different regions and sectors of importance to Liverpool FC. The Standard Chartered kit sponsorship deal, which Ian spearheaded, is but one example of how his prior business experience matches the needs of the Club, and he will help us continue to succeed in the commercial arena going forward.

"But importantly, Ian is also from Liverpool and understands the relationships between the Club, the supporters and the city. He will play a key role in all of our future plans."

As for Comolli's promotion, Henry was just as enthusiastic.

"I am also delighted to announce the promotion of Damien Comolli to Director of Football.  In the short time that Damien has been at the Club, he has impressed us greatly with his knowledge of the sport, his work ethic and his incisive intelligence. He is a clear thinker and understands exactly what is needed to form a long-term, consistent approach with the philosophy we all share here.  He has a track record of identifying young talent and has already made significant contributions to the First Team and Academy.

"Damien played a leading role in our January transfer window activity with the recruitment of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll. These two additions will play a significant role in the future of the Club. All of us at Liverpool Football Club who have been working on a day-to-day basis with Damien believe he will be a key contributor for many, many years here as we build a football operation second to none."

"With these key appointments today, the future of Liverpool Football Club is in very good hands. Tom and I are extraordinarily excited to be working with Ian and Damien as we do the things that must be done to move the Club forward in the 21st century."

Chairman Tom Werner was also pleased with the decisions.

"We've worked closely with Ian since coming to Liverpool and we have great confidence in his management and leadership skills.  Also, as a life-long fan of the Club, he has been instrumental in bringing John and I up to speed on the traditions and history of this great Club and specifically, what it means to follow the Liverpool way.  

"Ian has been instrumental to us in stabilizing things after we purchased the Club and helping us with a re-set to put us on a solid path to move forward. We consider this one more big step in taking the Club to exactly where supporters and we want to go."

"Damien has already demonstrated a thorough understanding of what a modern football Club needs to succeed in an ever more competitive environment. He has made a tremendous contribution to our scouting, recruitment and player development so far. This promotion will see him assume extra responsibilities including overseeing areas such as performance analysis, medical provision, and team administration."

Ayre, a lifelong Liverpool supporter, was honored to receive such an appointment.

"Obviously being from the city and having supported the club all my life, I have a deep understanding of what this special football club means to so many people. In my four years as Commercial Director, we've been extremely successful in growing our revenues, but I've also gained a thorough understanding of the challenges facing the Club.  We have been through some difficult times, but we find ourselves today with a great team of people all working together for the same goal.

"An important part of this new job will be to work closely with all our different stakeholders and help us move forward together. John and Tom have a clear vision for rebuilding the Club and bringing back success and I'm delighted to be able to help shape that future. It is a very proud moment for myself and my family and I am honoured to be given the opportunity."

Comolli also spoke about his new role, sharing his enthusiasm for the future of the club.

"I'm delighted to have been offered this promotion and very proud that I am going to be able to make significant contributions to the development of this great Club. It has been an exciting five months and I think all of us recognize that we have made a great deal of progress in many different areas.  However, there is a lot of hard work ahead and with the backing of our owners and their commitment to the Club, I'm confident we will get it right."

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