Saatchi CEO to head Man United's commercial unit

The chief executive of major advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi UK has been appointed the new group commercial director of English Premier League club Manchester United from mid-April. Lee Daley, 43, will oversee all the club’s commercial plans, from sponsorship to media, financial services and marketing. The appointment means that the board of Manchester United Ltd will consist of: Joel Glazer (joint chairman), Avram Glazer (joint chairman), Bryan Glazer, Darcie Glazer, Edward Glazer, Kevin Glazer, David Gill (chief executive), Michael Bolingbroke (chief operating officer) and Lee Daley (group commercial director).

Daley, who reportedly pipped former British Airways commercial director Martin George to the post, said: “Manchester United is one of the great loves of my life. To work for them is a unique privilege ... The challenge is to push the club from a brand point of view and give fans, who may never actually set foot inside Old Trafford, the chance to experience being a Manchester United fan, while obviously increasing the profits. My experience in the industry that I have worked in for 20 years, and the direction that I was pushing Saatchis, will be invaluable as we drive Manchester United through emerging media such as mobile and the internet."

Chief executive David Gill has predicted a “dramatic increase” in turnover from the £165.4 million to last June. Expanded ground capacity, next year’s new TV deal and a drive to sell the club in China, America and India should increase sales of United shirts and memorabilia.