Mark Ashton to join Ipswich Town as CEO after leaving Bristol City
Following confirmation of his impending departure from Championship club Bristol City earlier today, the Ipswich Town board has announced the appointment of Mark Ashton as the club's chief executive officer (CEO).
The Blues have confirmed he will join them on Tuesday, June 1 – a day after he officially leaves his existing role with The Robins.
A statement released on Ipswich's club website read: "The board of Ipswich Town FC is delighted to announce the appointment of Mark Ashton as the club’s chief executive officer. He will join on 1 June, 2021.
"With almost 30 years experience in the football industry, Mark is currently the CEO of Bristol City, a role that he has held since 2016, while he is also an elected Championship director on the EFL Board.
"Prior to joining Bristol City, Mark was with West Bromwich Albion for 16 years, originally as a player and then moving into various executive roles.
"In 2004 he joined Watford as CEO, a period that culminated in promotion to the Premier League.
He is a high energy, demanding, loyal, commercially savvy, well-connected and high integrity leader and we look forward very much to him making a major contribution to our journey here at Ipswich Town - Mike O'Leary, Ipswich Town chairman on Mark Ashton
"In 2014 Mark played a prominent role in the takeover of Oxford United and subsequently ran the club as CEO for the next two years."
It comes after Town's US takeover last week by Gamechanger 20 Ltd, an Arizona state pension fund spearheaded by 'The Three Lions' group of businessmen; Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer – all co-owners of USL club Phoenix Rising.
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 had made no secret of their move to recruit a top level experienced chief executive.
Town's recently appointed chairman, Mike O’Leary, who has previously worked with Ashton at both West Bromwich Albion and Oxford United, told the club's website: “We are delighted to welcome Mark Ashton to Portman Road. It is difficult to envisage anyone having better experience for a CEO job than Mark.
“He is a high energy, demanding, loyal, commercially savvy, well-connected and high integrity leader and we look forward very much to him making a major contribution to our journey here at Ipswich Town.”
Meanwhile, Ashton said: “I am delighted to be joining. There is a lot of hard work that lies ahead and I am genuinely excited at the opportunity to take the club forward.
“In the meantime, it is only right that I devote my attention to Bristol City for the remainder of the season so this is the only public comment that I will be making at this time.”
With 32 professional players at the club either out of contract or having their loan periods come to an end, Ashton is set to be coming in with a big role to play in shaping Town's immediate future.
Read more: All the latest Ipswich Town FC news