Arsenal have confirmed that Sir Chips Keswick has retired as chairman.
Sir Chips, 80, took over from Peter Hill-Wood seven years ago having been a club director since 2005. The Eton old-boy had previously worked for Hambros Bank for a number of years.
A statement released by Stan and Josh Kroenke on the club website reads: “We would like to express our immense gratitude for everything Sir Chips has done for Arsenal Football Club as a board member and chairman of the board over the past 15 years.
“His extensive business knowledge and experience coupled with his deep love of Arsenal have made him the perfect chairman. It has been a privilege to work with him and he will always be a very welcome visitor when we return to playing matches at Emirates Stadium.”
With his role little more than ceremonial following the Kroenke’s takeover, Sir Chips says that he’d already informed the club of his intention to step down at the end of the season. For whatever reason, he’s decided to stick to his original timeline, rather than see out the final months of a campaign that is set to restart in three weeks time.
Given the advice in the UK is for people over 70 to stay at home while the threat of coronavirus pervades, it’s perhaps unsurprising.
“It has been an honour to be the chairman of this great football club. Arsenal has always held a special place in my life and that will remain the case in the future,” said Sir Chips.
“I made my plan to retire at the end of this season clear to the board, before the global health crisis we are now experiencing. The club is in safe hands with Stan and Josh, the board and the executive team.
“I know Arsenal will emerge strongly from this situation and I look forward, like all our supporters around the world, to seeing the team in action as soon as possible.”
For the time being, it looks as though a direct replacement will not be made. The club instead confirmed that the board will be composed of Stan Kroenke, Josh Kroenke, Lord Harris and Ken Friar. One wonders if there might be room for a certain Frenchman one day?
So long Mr Chips, we wish you all the best with your retirement.