Chelsea have revealed the make-up of their new board, with Todd Boehly taking over from Bruce Buck as chairman, and confirmed the departure of Marina Granovskia.
Granovskia’s exit underlines the change at Stamford Bridge as Roman Abramovich sold the club less than a month ago to a consortium opposite Boiley and Clearlake Capital. The Russian-Canadian executive had run Abramovich’s side for Chelsea in recent years and was responsible for overseeing transfers and player contracts. He is close to the head coach, Thomas Tuchel, and has a reputation as a difficult negotiator with agents and clubs.
Chelsea have said that Granovskia will continue to provide assistance until the end of the transfer window. But his departure will put more responsibility on Bohli, with the co-owner set to serve as interim sporting director until a replacement is found. “We thank Marina for her many years of outstanding service to the club and wish her all the best in her future ventures,” Bohli said.
There has been a marked change in Chelsea’s approach to transfers. He hasn’t lost his heels after learning of Romelu Lukaku’s desire to return to the International. Boehly took charge of talks with Inter, who have agreed in principle to pay £7m plus add-on to sign Lukaku on loan, after deciding that the striker would be denied a move. It would be the opposite.
Lukaku, who is taking a major pay cut to join Inter, was struggling badly after joining Chelsea for £97.5m last summer. He was struggling to fit into Thomas Tuchel’s system and was openly ready to return to Inter. Tuchel supported the departure and Boehly, co-owner of the LA Dodgers, is keen to support the German.
Lukaku wished to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. It hasn’t turned into a saga and the challenge now will be for Chelsea to consolidate their attack, with Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling a key target, and move quickly into the transfer market. It will be interesting to see how much influence technical and performance consultant Petr Sech has this summer. The former Chelsea goalkeeper worked closely with Granovskia, and insiders praised his intelligence and diligence.
There is hope that Chelsea, who intend to give Tuchel significant funding for the signing, can act decisively after the announcement of their new board. Buck, a figure who has been polarizing in recent years, has agreed to step down at the end of this month. The American was appointed president after Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003.
“As patrons of Chelsea FC, we now begin to execute our long-term vision and plan for the club, creating an outstanding experience for our passionate, loyal fans, and top honors in line with Chelsea FC’s decorated history. Let’s continue to challenge,” Bohli said. “Working together, side by side, we are strongly committed to winning both on and off the pitch. This effort has begun for us.”
The new board includes Behdad Eghbali and Jose E. Feliciano, co-controlling owners of Chelsea and founding partners of Clearlake; Mark Walter, CEO and co-founder of Guggenheim Partners; Hansjörg Wies, a Swiss billionaire; Jonathan Goldstein, Co-Founder and CEO of Cane International; Barbara Charon, a celebrity publicist; Danielle Finkelstein, a Tory colleague and Times columnist; and James Pad, Partner and Managing Director of Clearlake Capital.
Goldstein, who is listed as a co-owner of the club, is a British property developer and gives Chelsea a presence in London. His knowledge of the property world could prove instrumental in Stamford Bridge’s renovation efforts.
Eghbali and Feliciano signaled their determination to continue investing in the women’s team, offering support to highly regarded manager Emma Hayes. “As the new era of Boehly-Clearlake ownership begins, we are excited to build a championship organization and grow Chelsea FC into a global platform,” he said. “We look forward to supporting Thomas Tuchel, Emma Hayes and their teams, and will continue to provide active, unwavering support to make Chelsea’s loyal fans and our partners proud.”