Ipswich Town look set to name Mark Ashton as new CEO after his Bristol City departure is confirmed
Mark Ashton looks to be on his way to front up off-the-pitch operations at Ipswich Town after his impending exit as CEO at Bristol City has now been confirmed.
The 49-year-old has been heavily linked as the man Town's new ownership group, Gamechanger 20 Ltd, want as their chief executive, having previously worked with new Blues chairman Mike O'Leary, at both West Bromich Albion and Oxford United.
After more than five years at Ashton Gate, Bristol City have today confirmed he will be leaving his role at the end of the current season, on May 31.
Suffolk News understands Robins chairman Steve Landsdown did made attempts to keep Ashton before having to succumb to his wishes to move on to a new venture.
Under previous owner Marcus Evans – who has retained a 5 per cent stake in the Suffolk club – the day-to-day running of the Blues had been entrusted to academy chief Lee O'Neil whose role grew into 'general manager of football operations and academy manager'. But the new owners have made no secret of their move to recruit an experienced chief executive.
In a statement released on Bristiol City's club website, Landsdown said: “I’ve enjoyed working closely with Mark throughout his time here. It’s disappointing to see him go but I understand there comes a time in everyone’s career when they want to take on a new challenge.
“Mark has been an integral part of what we have created over the last few years and he has helped build a strong foundation for the club to move forward from. His work as an EFL Director has also been of benefit in raising the club’s profile.
“I’d like to thank Mark for all his work and everyone at Bristol City wish him the best for the future.”
The club statement continued by saying that during Ashton’s tenure City "established itself as a sustainable Championship club, with a pathway of talent progressing from academy to first team, as well as the building of the new Robins High Performance Centre".
Ashton himself said: “I want to thank the Lansdown family for their support over the last five years. It’s been an incredible role and a privilege to be the CEO of Bristol City.
“I want to give credit to the staff who have worked tirelessly here and who I will miss very much. The club is in excellent hands with such dedicated and passionate people.
“During my time here, it has been a priority to steer the club in a proper and stable way, to see the integration of the Academy and Women’s team into a one-club structure, and of course to see the completion of the Robins High Performance Centre.
“The club is in a great position to take the next step forward and it feels like now is the right time for myself to move on and embrace a new challenge.”
Blues' backing fund is revealed
Meanwhile, it has been revealed the pension fund that is behind the Gamechanger 20 takeover of Town is Arizona's Public Safety Personal Retirement System (PSPRS) – as alluded to in a question in last Wednesday's press conference by TWTD's Phil Ham.
More information on the fund, which is being reported as being worth $13 billion (£9.47 billion) with $700 million (£510 million) in cash, can be found via TWTD here.