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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.

Photo: ITFC

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osborne1nil added 15:17 - Apr 13
Good news. CEO of the year in 2019. Welcome to Portman Road. Looking forward to lots of new players in the closed season.

Radlett_blue added 15:29 - Apr 13
Well, at least now we know who will be in charge. The big question is if Cook can work with him and is happy as to how player recruitment will be done.

TractorRoyNo1 added 15:29 - Apr 13
Just need the boys to win tonight to make it a great day for the Club

Ipswichbusiness added 15:29 - Apr 13
Presumably that means that the PE teacher is not required?

IpswichT62OldBoy added 15:30 - Apr 13
Yes, the picture becomes clearer, the pieces are falling into place.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 15:32 - Apr 13
Bristol City are 14th on 50 points. I only mention this to remind people that our road forward, while potentially very exciting, is not a guaranteed success.

Bazza8564 added 15:35 - Apr 13
Its a terrific appointment and means business at the club will be properly run. Its also a huge vote of confidence in us that he sees this as a better job than running a club on tier above us (for now). Exciting times!

Coco added 15:36 - Apr 13
Nothing in life is guaranteed Steve_ITFC_Sweden but at least we are at least now giving it a bloody good go.

DebsyAngel added 15:37 - Apr 13
Welcome to the club Mike. This is great news, and another part of big changes here. Now onto the team and who stays/goes!

tractorboybig added 15:46 - Apr 13 mean the bristol city that has set the championship alight????

fisons added 15:59 - Apr 13
tractorboybig, you moaned about Evans... Now things are changing and they're looking to improve the structure you still moan? Its a CEO who has a proven track record at a solid championship club and was once offered a job at Man Utd... It's a big step up from where we are as a club at this moment in time.

What is it you are expecting? what realistic appointment would make you happy? I assume you have intricate knowledge of football CEOs...

ArnieM added 16:01 - Apr 13
Do you know what I love now .....ITFC don’t hang around anymore. They identify, they negotiate, they interview, they recruit.

Bring it on......


ArnieM added 16:03 - Apr 13
Oh and one final comment....

Nodge, we’re coming to getcha, you’d better believe it!

Edmundo added 16:04 - Apr 13
I'd take us being 14th in the Championship after the last few seasons. I'd also take a decent CEO: the first good one since Bowden, and possibly the link we needed so badly between owner/board and manager in the past. Now we could do with Ashton restructuring our player recruitment (and senior development), which he seems capable of doing.
Welcome, Mark! COYB.

Fatboy added 16:04 - Apr 13
“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.” 👍

itfchorry added 16:06 - Apr 13
Clegg Out !

StringerBell added 16:10 - Apr 13
Rather than welcome the introduction of a proper management structure at the club why not leave a snidey comment
FFS it's a new start, let's at least give the bloke a chance.

Fatboy added 16:12 - Apr 13
I don't really understand what he's going to be doing at Bristol City for the next seven weeks. Surely he should just be joining us now?

istanblue added 16:13 - Apr 13
''He is a high energy, demanding, loyal, commercially savvy, well-connected and high integrity leader''

Everything that Evans and his puppets weren't.

therein61 added 16:18 - Apr 13
A CEO and a footballing man at long last instead of mouthpieces who wouldn't know the difference between a football and a rugby ball.

Bert added 16:28 - Apr 13
He has a good pedigree so sounds like an astute appointment. For too long the club has recruited poorly at executive management level. Looks likely that O’Neil will be without a job at ITFC so I wish him well.

buzbyblue added 16:37 - Apr 13
I really can't understand some of the comments? How long have we been crying out as supporters to have FOOTBALL people running it?

People have really short memories just how back Evans' various appointments were!

bluesteal74 added 16:42 - Apr 13
Welcome Mark can't wait for you to start roll on 2021-22

atty added 16:48 - Apr 13
A proper structure being put in place, with the right people.Not Evan’s micro-managing like Open All
Hours, Evans as Arkwright and Clegg/Milne/ O’Neill taking turns to be Granville.

Barty added 16:53 - Apr 13
Welcome Mark and great to have you on board

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