Manchester United are starting the Sir Jim Ratcliffe era by sealing a major coup with the appointment of Omar Berrada as the club’s new chief executive, according to reports. Berrada has resigned from his role as rivals Manchester City’s chief football operations officer and will become the first appointment under INEOS’ rule at Old Trafford.
According to The Athletic, United are set to confirm the surprise arrival of Berrada from across the city to replace Richard Arnold as CEO.
Arnold departed at the end of last year, with Patrick Stewart replacing him as the Red Devils’ interim chief executive during the transition period.
But Ratcliffe expects the Premier League to ratify his £1.3billion investment next month, and the search for a permanent replacement has been ongoing in the background.
Berrada is one of the prominent figures behind City’s recent success on and off the pitch after joining from Barcelona in 2011.
City have confirmed his exit, which is said to have come as a serious surprise at the Etihad Stadium, in a statement to The Athletic.
It read: “Manchester City Football Club can confirm that Omar Berrada has resigned from his role as chief football operations officer at City Football Group.
“The club understands his decision to look for a new challenge, and he leaves with our thanks and best wishes.”
Berrada is expected to be a key witness when City defend themselves in front one an independent commission later this year after being accused by the Premier League of 115 counts of breaking their profit and sustainability rules.
He has been at the heart of the City Football Group operation, both on the football and commercial side of the club.
It is unlikely that United would recruit an individual whose reputation would be tarnished if the allegations were proved.
The report claims United were pursuing a candidate with a proven track record of sporting success, as well as top-level experience in business.
The Glazers are said to have endorsed Berrada’s appointment after INEOS identified him for the role, and he will take executive leadership in both areas of United’s operations.
It is a clear indicator of the power Ratcliffe and INEOS have inherited at Old Trafford as they await for their 29 per cent stake to become official.
Berrada worked as Barcelona’s senior media business development manager and head of sponsorship for eight years before landing in Manchester in 2011.
He started as commercial director for City Football Marketing before earning a promotion and becoming City’s chief operating officer in 2016.
During his most recent role as chief football operations officer at the City Football Group, he has worked closely with director of football Txiki Begiristain and was widely viewed as his likely successor.
The former Barca man, who reportedly rejected approached for CEO roles at a Premier League club, MLS teams and a major NFL franchise last summer, was central to Erling Haaland’s 2022 arrival.