While new manager Rafa Benitez’s first press conference and disclosure of his coaching staff took all the headlines yesterday, Everton also made a not-insignificant announcement of two new additions to the Board of Directors that could have far-reaching effects into the club’s future.
Sporting and Commercial Director of the Everton Women team Sarvar Ismailov, a counterpart of Director of Football Marcel Brands but for the women’s side, and Finance Director Grant Ingles have both joined the Board as a promotion for the excellent work the pair have done for the club.
Ismailov, though only 26, has done a remarkable job since 2019 with promoting the Women’s team and making Merseyside a marketable destination for both English and European footballers. The Blues have certainly made a step up and right now are easily one of the biggest teams outside of the quartet of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. Closing that gap though remains a big challenge and Ismailov will continue to work that brief while taking on additional responsibilities.
He will also represent majority shareowner Farhad Moshiri’s interests in the club’s business and as the nephew of Moshiri’s long-time business partner Alisher Usmanov, strengthens the ties with USM Holdings as the club continues to grow in stature financially.
Speaking about his appointment, Ismailov said -
“It’s an honour and a privilege to join Everton’s Board of Directors. It is a big responsibility which I will not take lightly. I want to thank our Board and our Majority Shareholder for giving me this opportunity and placing their faith in me.
“I love this club inside and out – and I assure you I have blue blood running through my veins. I am determined and ambitious and will bring new ideas and youthful energy to my role. We are – and always will be – a family club but we are entirely focused on bringing success on the pitch – that is our absolute priority. This is an exciting new chapter for our club. We are beginning a new era and we are only looking forward, determined to deliver success for every Evertonian.”
Ingles first worked with Everton as a consultant from Deloitte Sports Business Group in 2006, and joined the club on a full-time basis since 2013. As part of the the stadium board and Everton leadership team, he has overseen the details of the massive cash injections and bumper sponsorship deals that the club have had since Moshiri’s arrival.
With a new era of financial prudence expected in the wake of the COVID pandemic, Ingles will be charged with maintaining profitability at the Club, even as Everton are about to embark on the largest project in the club’s history with the construction of a new stadium at the Bramley-Moore Dock.
Speaking about his appointment, Ingles said -
“I am really pleased to join the Everton Board of Directors at such an important time in the Club’s history. We have some incredible opportunities in front of us and I look forward to working with the Board and Executive team to deliver these in the years ahead.
“I’d like to thank the Chairman and Owner for putting their trust in me and Denise and my colleagues at the Club for the tremendous support they have given me over many years.”
Club Chief Executive Office Denise Barrett-Baxendale commended the pair for the work they have done for the club.
“I know from the work that Sarvar has done with Everton Women that he is committed to getting results and brings energy, ideas, and a modern perspective to everything he does. I’m excited to be working with him now on our main board and seeing the impact he can make at our Club.
“I have worked closely with Grant for more than 10 years and appointed him as Finance Director when I became Chief Executive in 2018. I value him incredibly highly as a colleague and a leader in our business. He has extensive financial experience both from his time with us and the other roles he has held in the sports sector - and this experience will be very valuable to us as we deliver some key projects in the coming years.”
Chief Finance and Commercial Officer Alexander (Sasha) Ryazantsev was added to the Board back in 2016 with Brands then joining a couple of years later and former third-largest shareholder Jon Woods and Deputy Chairman Keith Harris leaving in 2019, leaving club chairman Bill Kenwright as the only one of the ‘old guard’ that had steered the ship into the current millennium.