The head of a multimedia company which is pioneering sports coverage has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of Aston Villa.
Richard Fitzgerald is joining the club from IMG, the global media group, whose clients include the FA Premier League.
In a double appointment announced yesterday, Villa also said Robin Russell was joining as its new chief financial officer, the post he has held at the credit card bank MBNA Europe.
Mr Fitzgerald, who starts in January, has been at IMG for 18 years, lately as senior vice-president. He has worked extensively in the sports media business, including four years in Cleveland, Ohio, the home of Villa billionaire owner Randy Lerner’s American football team.
As well as the FA Premier League, IMG clients during Mr Fitzgerald’s tenure at IMG have included Manchester United, the Wimbledon Championships and the European Golf Tour.
IMG described its best business win as the supply of a new video application to stream live action from the Wimbledon tennis tournament, claimed to be a first in the sports world. Mr Russell, who starts at Villa today, has been with MBNA, also owned by Mr Lerner, for 12 years.
In a statement the Villa board said: "We are delighted to welcome both Richard and Robin to lead the business activities at Aston Villa. Both bring proven professional track records."