Arsenal have announced the appointment of Major League Soccer deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis as their new chief executive.
The 44-year-old South Africa-born Oxford graduate will take up his post in January to end his 14-year association with the American league.
Gazidis is expected to take over many of the duties previously handled by former vice-chairman David Dein, who left Arsenal last year, such as player contracts and negotiations.
A Gunners statement to the Stock Exchange said: "Arsenal are delighted to announce that after a thorough recruitment process, Ivan Gazidis has been appointed the new chief executive officer, taking up the position in January 2009."
Club chairman Peter Hill-Wood said: "Ivan's credentials are first class.
"It is evident that he has a wealth of business acumen together with a broad knowledge of football that will not only help to maintain Arsenal's pre-eminent standing but enhance our reputation within the football community and international commercial markets."
Gazidis, a qualified solicitor and keen amateur player, said: "I have been privileged in my 14 years with MLS to have worked with and for some of the best sports executives and owners in the world, whose vision, commitment and expertise have taken the league from strength to strength and provided a solid platform for its future growth.
"I am delighted to be offered the opportunity to bring that experience to bear at Arsenal - a club rich in heritage and tradition, that is superbly positioned for success in the modern era.
"I relish the prospect of working with the key stakeholders to further propel the club forward.
"It is nearly 15 years since I left the UK but I'm very much looking forward to returning in January."
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