Ian Ayre to step down as Liverpool's chief executive

Ayre will leave the role in 2017

Ian Ayre, the chief executive at Liveprool, will step down from the role in 2017, it was announced on Monday.

Ayre joined the club in 2007 when it was still owned by Tom Hicks and George Gillett, before becoming CEO when the pair left in 2010 and the Fenway Sports Group completed their takeover of the club.

In a statement on the club wesbite, owner John W. Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon said that they had tried to convince Ayre to stay on several occasions, but were unsuccesful.

"We will at some point in the near future begin identifying and recruiting a worthy successor to continue to build on the outstanding foundations which have been laid by Ian," read the statement, adding that "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".

They added that Ayre's decision was typical of the person he was, putting the club first and announcing it 15 months in advance, allowing them to find an adequate replacement. 

Ayre stated that "if becoming chief executive of Liverpool Football Club was the greatest honour of my professional life, then deciding to step down at the end of my current contract is by far the most difficult."

He added that "having been brought up in the shadow of Anfield, I have found it the most profound privilege to serve the club I have supported all my life", and that he would assist with the transition over the final 15 months of his tenure. 

Twitter reaction to the news has been, predictably, none too flattering to the CEO.