Chief executive Ian Ayre will leave Liverpool Football Club at the end of his contract next year, it was announced on Monday night.
Ayre joined Liverpool as Commercial Director under then owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in 2007.
After securing a lucrative shirt sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered, Ayre was made Managing Director by current owners Fenway Sports Group in 2011 when Christian Purslow stepped down.
In January 2014 Ayre was promoted to chief executive officer (CEO) of the club.
The 52-year-old’s departure opens questions over FSG potentially restructuring the club’s hierarchy, with speculation over a Director of Football to be appointed to oversee sporting matters.
In a statement, FSG said: “Under his leadership, we have seen Liverpool transform from a club that was on the brink of bankruptcy, to one which today enjoys strong financial and operational health.
“It is typical of the person he is, once again, Ian is putting the club ahead of his own interest in wanting to announce his decision 15 months before he steps down. This now provides us with plenty of time and space to find a suitable successor.”
The Liverpool Echo report that Ayre “has cited the remorseless intensity of running a club of Liverpool’s stature as the primary reason behind his decision.”
Ayre himself said: “In the remaining 15 months I have as CEO, I will continue to provide FSG, Jurgen, the players and all the brilliant staff at Liverpool on going strategic leadership and a smooth transition.”
Ayre will leave Liverpool in May 2017.