Liverpool have announced that Ian Ayre will step down as chief executive officer at the end of next season.
Ayre has been at the club since 2007 in a variety of different roles and will leave Anfield when his contract expires in May 2017.
He joined Anfield as commercial director and the club's board of director in 2009. He was then promoted to managing director in 2011 and chief executive in 2013.
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Ayre is also the vice-chairman of the Liverpool FC foundation - the club's official charity.
During his time at the club, Ayre has overseen the change of owners and has played his part in the redevelopment of Anfield with the new Main Stand being built.
Principal John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon have released the following statement:
"Ian advised us of his intention to step down as CEO a few months ago.
"We asked him on several occasions to take some time to reconsider his decision, but have been unable to convince him to remain as CEO beyond May 2017. We will at some point in the near future begin identifying and recruiting a worthy successor to continue to build on the outstanding foundations which have been laid by Ian.
"Under his leadership, we have seen Liverpool transform from a club that was on the brink of bankruptcy, to one which today enjoys strong financial and operational health.
The full statement can be read here: http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/announcements/211482-ian-ayre-to-step-down-as-ceo-in-may-2017
While Ayre himself said: "If becoming chief executive of Liverpool Football Club was the greatest honour of my professional life, then deciding to step down at the end of my current contract is by far the most difficult.
"Having the privilege to lead this great club comes with huge responsibility and challenge but one which I have relished and I feel proud of my achievements in the role. I believe the end of next season is the right time to pass the CEO baton on to a new person, who will take on the challenges and opportunities with a fresh enthusiasm and vigour. They will do so supported by what I believe to be the best ownership group in world sport and by a truly excellent team of staff throughout the football club.
"Having been brought up in the shadow of Anfield, I have found it the most profound privilege to serve the club I have supported all my life. The driving principle behind every decision I have taken during my time here has been to do the best for the long-term stability and health of this great football club. In the remaining 15 months I have as CEO, I will continue to provide FSG, Jürgen, the players and all the brilliant staff at Liverpool ongoing strategic leadership and a smooth transition.”
Ayre is also responsible for transfer dealings and is often the member of the board room jetting off to sign players, with various degrees of success.
Liverpool fans often criticise Ayre for not being to complete deals with transfer targets.
However, there is very little argument that the 52-year-old has performed magnificently off the pitch during his nine years at the club helping Liverpool remain one of the biggest clubs in the world.
He must also receive credit for attracting world-class talent to the club as well as their current manager Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool fans: Are you happy to hear that Ian Ayre will step down in May 2017? Let us know in the comments box below!
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