Hicks hails Ayre's Liverpool appointment

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks is delighted with appointment of Ian Ayre as the club's new commercial director.

Ayre, 44, headhunted by Liverpool in a painstaking global search following the Americans' takeover in February, will assume a high profile and important new board role at Anfield, reporting to Reds' chief executive Rick Parry.

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He ran Huddersfield Town for three years as chairman and chief executive, negotiating collective TV bargaining rights for the vast majority of football league clubs too.

Hicks, speaking from his offices in Dallas, told the Liverpool Echo: "This is a real 'local boy comes home' story and one of our key summer signings too.

"We conducted a global search which turned up over a dozen very high quality candidates. George and I both interviewed - together and separately - probably half a dozen apiece.

"It was real clear to us that Ian was the perfect choice, both from his background in sponsorship and new media and also in what we plan to do in Asia.

"But most importantly Ian was the right choice because of his passion for the team, the community and the city.

"When you roll it all up together he's going to be a very important executive for many years to come."

Added Hicks: "Ian is going to have to create a whole new commercial organisation that will encompass ticketing, sponsorship, and which encompasses our traditional media and new media, our press relations and customer services. These are areas where we are going to have focus.

"I think it will be great for our fans and we have three years to get it right before we are into our new stadium."

He added: "Ian's enthusiasm impressed us - he's a real entrepreneur and he's had success. He didn't go to a fancy school - he grew up in Liverpool and went to a neighbourhood academy.

"He went into the navy when he left school and went into a small club to join the football fraternity.

"He's been doing sponsorship deals all over Asia and he has touched all the right things, ticked all the right boxes.

"Ian has proven to be a good manager, very thorough - and has true empathy for the club.

"I think our fans will love him. We are taking one step at a time. I feel very good about where we are, having signed this summer our key players. Now we have added to our commercial strength. Ian's challenge is to do for the Liverpool brand on a global basis what we have been achieving for years on the pitch."

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