Manchester United surprised the football world by appointing the Moroccan-French figure, Omar Berrada, a prominent figure at their noisy neighbors Manchester City, as the new CEO.
Berrada served as the CEO of football operations at the City Football Group (CFG), which owns Manchester City and 12 other clubs worldwide.
He joined City in 2011, working as the Head of International Business Development, Director of Partnership Sales, then Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial Officer of the group before becoming the CEO of football operations at the club in 2016.
In 2020, he was promoted to the position of CEO of football operations at CFG.
Like many other top executives at City, including coach Pep Guardiola, Berrada spent several years working at Barcelona during a highly successful period for the Catalan club.
In recent years, Manchester City has been far superior to its arch-rival, both administratively and athletically.
Ed Woodward, the actual CEO of Manchester United from 2012 to 2022, faced criticism for playing a significant role in football affairs despite lacking a background in sports.
On the other hand, Berrada's departure is considered a blow for City, as he was the potential successor to the football director at the club, Txiki Begiristain, who also came from Barcelona.
Administrative and sporting success
Despite City enjoying substantial financial backing from its owners, there is widespread acknowledgment that the club is well-managed. It has become adept at negotiating in the transfer market and generates significant revenue from player sales, unlike United.
There are other examples of Premier League clubs hiring new executives in high positions from Manchester City. Scott Mun, from the central management of CFG, became the second-in-command at Tottenham, while Jason Wilcox, the former Academy Director at Manchester City, became the technical director at Southampton.
The football operations department at Manchester City comprises over 130 people, and the success of the club is built on various staff and officials. Therefore, there is no panic about the ability to fill the void left by Berrada.
There are precedents that suggest the possibility of success for this move by Manchester United. Peter Kenyon, who served as the CEO of the club from 2000 to 2003, surprised many when he moved to the same position at Chelsea. He oversaw Chelsea's period of dominance under the ownership of Roman Abramovich.