Arsenal board overhaul looms if Peter Hill-Wood retires
Departure of current chairman would end 84-year family link with the Gunners
ARSENAL are expected to make some big-name signings this summer, but the club could also be preparing for a "potentially historic overhaul" in the boardroom if long-serving chairman Peter Hill-Wood decides to stand down during the close season.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the Gunners' 77-year-old chairman, who has been at the helm since 1982, is set to retire after experiencing health problems. He had a heart attack last December and suffered a bout of pneumonia this year.
His departure would bring to an end an 84-year family association with the club. Hill-Wood's grandfather, Samuel, and father, Denis, both served as Arsenal chairmen, notes the paper. Peter has had a seat on the board since 1962.
But although the end of the Hill-Wood dynasty would have some historical significance at the Emirates it might only have a "limited operational impact" on the club, suggests the Telegraph, as the day-to-day running of Arsenal is overseen by manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis. The Gunners may even decide to operate without a chairman, claims the paper.
Yet calls for changes in the boardroom have been growing. There has been little movement in that department since US tycoon Stan Kroenke became majority shareholder in 2011, prompting unrest among supporters. Kroenke's rival, Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who owns almost 30 per cent of the club but does not have a seat on the board, has been agitating from behind the scenes.
Earlier this month, Arsenal blog Lady Arse Gossip reported that Hill-Wood might be leaving and claimed that "the club are concerned at the perceived age of the board and will be looking for someone younger than the more established members who are already on the board to take his place".
Three other members of the six-strong all-male board are in their seventies.
"The Arsenal Supporters' Trust have commissioned an independent report into the boardroom structure at Arsenal and, among the recommendations, it was suggested that the club should add a distinguished former player, a female and someone with the specific responsibility for engaging with supporters and wider stakeholders," notes the Telegraph. ·