The chief executive of West Bromwich Albion has announced that he is to retire. Mark Jenkins is stepping down after 18 years of service at the football club, spread over two terms.
In April this year Mr Jenkins decided to take a 100 per cent reduction in his wage during the Covid-19 pandemic. He also informed the club owners before the lockdown began that he would be leaving at the end of the season.
Mr Jenkins leaves the club on a positive note having helped it through 12 years of Premier League football, four promotions in the Championship and two play-off campaigns.
West Bromwich Albion have never finished lower than fourth in the Championship during his years in office and this season’s promotion success provides a fitting triumphant finale for his exit.
Mr Jenkins felt that if the club did not achieve promotion at the end of the season it would be an appropriate time to hand the reins to someone else but if it did get promoted his role would come to a natural and positive conclusion.
His successor will be current executive director Xu ‘Ken’ Ke, who has been working closely alongside Jenkins since 2018. Both Jenkins and Ke believe the transition will be a smooth one as an excellent management team has been established at the club.
Mr Jenkins said in a statement published on the club’s website:
“Ken has built a strong working relationship with the Club’s senior management team and I have every confidence they will transition smoothly to tackle the challenges of the summer and beyond.
“But the time is right for me to go. It has been a gruelling couple of years and I am naturally delighted I can step down with a sense of ‘mission accomplished’.
“Our great Club is once again back where we all want to be.”
Albion’s owner Guochuan Lai paid tribute to the departing Chief Executive. Mr Lai said: “This is the second time we have reluctantly had to say farewell to Mark but I respect his decision and would like to place on record our appreciation of his leadership back to the Premier League.
“He has put the club on a stable footing and led us out of a difficult corner. We have always admired his business philosophies and will continue to follow the principles Mark has firmly established.”
New CEO Mr Ke said: “I’ve had the best preparation I could have wished for working alongside Mark.
“We are sorry to see him go but he has established an excellent management team who I believe will make this an easy transition.”
Congratulations to the Baggies! And from everyone at Think Sandwell, all the best for the future to Mr Jenkins.