In any big business, reorganizations are a fact of life. Often a reorg is triggered by nothing of substance - bored CEO’s trying to shake a few extra nickels out of the couch cushions, as it were, will sometimes do a reorg as an excuse to get rid of some people, for instance. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to do one; if the structure and operation of your business has changed dramatically, sometimes it makes sense to restructure your command network to reflect that.
And then sometimes, it’s as simple as the arrival of a new C-level executive who has a desire to ‘shake things up’, for...reasons. Any way you do it, though, the only constant in business life is change. This is true as much at a company the size of Arsenal as any small business, and Arsenal were very much in need of a reorganization following the departure of Arsene Wenger last season. Under Wenger, the Arsenal org chart looked like this:
As we all know by now, starting a couple years ago, Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s then-CEO, started to lay the groundwork for a post-Wengerian Arsenal, bringing in Raul Sanllehi, Sven Mislintat, Vinai Venkatesham, and Huss Fahmy, among others, to create more of a supportable, plug-and-play structure for future evolution of the club. The roles of all three were sorta set in stone - Sanllehi was brought on as Head of Football Relations, Mislintat as Head of Recruitment, Fahmy as contracts guy, and Venkatesham, just last month, as managing director.
Well, those titles didn’t last all that long at all. As the club has evolved since Wenger’s departure, Sanllehi is evolving the executive structure of the club as well. Everyone has shiny new titles - his is staying Head of Football (the “relations” was dropped post-Wenger), but Mislintat is set to get the newly created post of technical director, and Fahmy will take up Mislintat’s old role, which has been retitled as Head of Football Operations. So now, Arsenal sorta looks like this:
It’s important to remember that this is just a SWAG on my part. I have no idea if this is accurate, and I’m sure there’s some stuff that’s missing - the relationship between Sanllehi and Venkatesham is more of a dotted line, I think, and there may be a layer between Venkatesham and the people that actually DO the commercial operation of the business of Arsenal (the club employs around 1,000 people, not including matchday workers). But this seems like a pretty decent guesstimate of what the Arsenal front office might look like now, I think.
And no matter what it looks like, this looks much more supportable and sustainable than having one dude, no matter how legendary, overseeing everything from top to bottom. Will it mean better results? Better recruitment? Better football? I don’t know, but the fact that other people within the game see Mislintat and Sanllehi as “major assets to Arsenal” is something I like to see, and hopefully the job-title churn will slow down now and they can get back to the business of hauling Arsenal back into the Top Club Club.