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Outgoing CEO Jim Rodwell’s departure tells us more about why he was appointed last year

Having left Sunderland AFC today, vacating his position as CEO, Jim Rodwell’s departure from the club perhaps tells us more about the reasons why he was handed the job last year.

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A week of major developments has concluded with the departure of the club’s chief executive officer Jim Rodwell.

Friday’s announcement comes as no great surprise, with new owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus set to take on a hands-on role as chairman of Sunderland AFC.

However, his exit comes less than a year after Rodwell resigned from a similar job at Scunthorpe to move to the Stadium of Light.

Statements issued by the club on Friday revealed more about the exact role of Rodwell than we’ve known ever since he was appointed by Stewart Donald last April.

Back then, Donald said that while the club remained up for sale, Rodwell was ‘’integral’’ to the club’s plans for ‘’ongoing and long-term success’’, at a time when there was ‘’increased uncertainty within global markets and the economy as a whole due to the coronavirus pandemic’’.

But on Friday, the club and Donald admitted that Rodwell had been appointed with the ‘’express task’’ of ensuring the sale of the club was executed as swiftly and responsibly as possible.

If that was the case, it’s been a job well done. Rodwell was never a prolific mouthpiece figure even in the days after Donald stepped down as chairman in June of last year.

His job behind the scenes was a crucial one in helping to set up the club for what we all hope will be an exciting new chapter for Sunderland AFC.

Whatever the future holds for Rodwell, the man who arrived with an unpopular surname on Wearside, departs with praise from both Donald and Dreyfus, and no doubt the majority of fans for his part in the sale of the club.

Stewart Donald said: “Jim’s tireless work and calm professionalism in dealing with numerous bidding entities over the course of the last year or so has helped us achieve a very difficult task. Selling a football club is never straightforward, but to do so in the current environment has been especially challenging. I want to place on record my warm thanks for completing the task that he embarked upon back in the spring and wish him the very best for wherever his career takes him next.”

Jim Rodwell said: “It was an honour to be appointed CEO of such an iconic club and I will always be grateful for the opportunity Stewart Donald gave me. I also want to thank the Board and staff at SAFC for the support they have given me during some exceptionally difficult times. It will always be a sadness that I did not get to experience a full and buzzing Stadium of Light as CEO – but the supporters who I have met during my time in the city have only reaffirmed what a wonderful support base the club is so fortunate to have. I am in no doubt that with control being transferred to Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, whose family have a stellar track record in football club ownership, those fans can look forward to a bright future.”

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus said: “I would like to thank Jim for the support that he has given me during the sale process. His integrity and professionalism have been much in evidence, and the good leadership he has displayed in maintaining the stability of the club during the Covid-19 pandemic should also be recognised. We all wish him well for the future.”

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