FORMER Town chairman and chief executive Ian Ayre has been appointed as Liverpool’s new commercial director.
The 44-year-old lifelong Reds fan, right, who hailed it as his “dream job”, will be responsible for helping to bring millions of pounds into Anfield through increased sponsorship and merchandise revenues.
Ayre’s appointment is a new position at the club and he will report directly to chief executive Rick Parry when he starts on August 16.
“I’m delighted Ian has agreed to join us and I look forward to him arriving in Liverpool,” said Parry.
“There couldn't be a better time to be coming to the club as we're looking at a bright future both on and off the pitch.
“Ian has a great track record and also understands the values which make this club so special.”
Ayre’s initial focus will be selecting sponsors for the club’s move to a new stadium in 2010 and he will also spearhead the development of the Reds’ brand internationally, particularly in Asia.
It was his extensive experience in new media and sponsorship which impressed American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Recently he was chief operating officer of Total Sports Asia, a brand solutions business for international sports and entertainment partners aiming to develop an Asian strategy.
His role focused on developing new business, defining and implementing sales strategy and marketing their partner brands across the Asian region.
Between 2001 and 2004 he was managing director of Premium TV Ltd, a subsidiary of NTL Inc.
Before that, he spent three years at Town, where he was brought in by former club owner Barry Rubery.
Reds’ co-chairmen Hicks and Gillett said: “We would like to welcome Ian to Liverpool Football Club. He has vast experience in an array of relevant fields for the club.
“In particular, his marketing experience will be a great advantage as we look to grow the Liverpool brand overseas and make the club more competitive on this front. He is a strong addition to the team.”
Ayre said: “Being Liverpool born and bred, this is a dream job for me.
“I feel that everything I’ve done so far – in sports marketing, media and technology – has been leading to this role.
“I’ve been away from Liverpool for many years, and I couldn’t be returning at a better time.”