Birmingham, England, United Kingdom (4E) – Beleaguered Aston Villa, which has a for sale sign up on its club grounds porch, has hired Tom Fox as its new Chief Executive Officer. Fox was a former National Basketball Association and Nike executive. Prior to his appointment by Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner, he was the chief commercial officer for Arsenal in the last five years.
The announcement was made after Aston Villa won its opening match against Stoke City 1-0. Lerner said, through a press release, “I was delighted and even flattered by Tom’s interest in the Villa job His achievements at Arsenal speak for themselves and, above all, his reputation as a leader and team builder makes him, to my mind, a great fit to take our club forward.”
Fox would be replacing Paul Faulkner, who resigned last July. As for the owner, Lerner had previously owned the National Football League team Cleveland Browns. He had announced at the end of the last season that his putting the club up for sale. There have been feelers but no solid offers have been made as of yet.
One of the milestones Fox left with Arsenal was the securing of a GBP170 million kit deal with Puma last year. He also was instrumental in renewing the sponsorship deal with Emirates, the club’s main sponsor.
In a statement, Fox said of his appointment as Aston Villa’s new CEO, “I consider it a huge privilege to have represented the club and to have helped move it forward.”
He added, “Aston Villa has always been an important club in English football and it has a long and rich history of success at the top of the game.”
Aston Villa has had issues both on and off the pitch as of late. As a business concern, Aston Villa FC had reported losses of GBP51.8 million on sales of GBP83.7 million. While Paul Lambert was at the helm as manager, the team placed 15th, five points below the relegation zone. Its last league title was in 1981, one year before winning the European Cup.
Prior to the appointment of Fox, team owner Lerner has been hands-on with the club’s day to day operations. He has been seen on the team training grounds in Birmingham. He has also been helping team manager Lambert to fill a roster. His first move was to complete the GBP4.5 million signing of Carlos Sanchez. In the pipeline are the hiring of a creative midfielder and a winger, both of which need to be signed before the close of the transfer window at midnight of Sept. 1.
Lambert said of the latest moves before Fox steps in, “We need to try and keep the club going strong regardless of what is going to happen in the next months. Since I have been here, Randy (Lerner) has been great with me. Whether results go for or against, he was always up front and told me exactly what was going to happen.”
The manager added, “The backing to get people in has been excellent and we will try and bring a few more in. The club is in a healthy place and the main thing is for me to improve on last year. The last two years have not been good enough.”