Ashton Confirmed as Town CEO
Tuesday, 13th Apr 2021 15:11
Town have confirmed that Mark Ashton, whose departure from Bristol City on May 31st was announced this morning, will join the club as chief executive officer on June 1st.
A statement on the club site reads: “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 1st 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. 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.”
Blues chairman Mike O’Leary, who worked with Ashton at Oxford and West Brom, told the club site: “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.”
Ashton added: “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.”
As reported by TWTD in February, Ashton has been the man the Blues’ new owners Gamechanger 20 have always wanted as their CEO.
Ashton became chief operating officer at Ashton Game in January 2016 then in July 2017 was named chief executive officer, having previously worked with the Robins as a consultant helping to establish their talent identification and recruitment system.
Named Championship CEO of the Year in 2019, the 49-year-old has been credited with wily transfer dealings which have seen the Robins net significant profits in the player trading market, while Ashton Gate and the club’s training infrastructure have also been transformed during his time with the club.
However, the appointment of Dean Holden as manager last summer, this season’s transfer business and a failure to make a serious challenge for promotion to the Premier League despite owner Steve Lansdown’s very significant fortune have led to fan criticism. With Ashton’s exit appearing close, a Bristol Post story looked back on his time at Ashton Gate earlier today.
A former youth goalkeeper with West Brom, Ashton was on the Baggies’ board from 1990 to 2014. In June 2004 he was appointed chief executive of Watford and he spent four and a half years with the Hornets before a four-month spell at Wycombe Wanderers in the same role in 2009.
Five years as chairman with Worcestershire-based consumer services company Grove Life followed before he and new Blues chairman O’Leary were part of a consortium which took charge at Oxford United. Ashton subsequently spent a year and a half as CEO at the Kassam Stadium.
Since May 2010 he has been the chairman of Tactical Change, which is described as an “international sports management company specialising in football management; particularly the business of football. Providing cutting edge solutions to the football industry, from player trading and recruitment to innovative commercial models that drive revenues and profitability”.
As previously reported, we understand Robins head of operations/club secretary Luke Werhun has also been ear-marked for a role at Portman Road by the new set-up. However, there is as yet no confirmation that he will be leaving Ashton Gate.
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