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Manchester United CEO Richard Arnold speaks in Manchester, England, on May 3.Nick Potts/The Associated Press

Richard Arnold has stepped down from his role as chief executive of Manchester United, the club said Wednesday.

Arnold’s departure comes at a time when American owners the Glazers are seeking new investment and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is attempting to buy a 25 per cent stake in the 20-time league champions.

“I would like to thank Richard for his outstanding service to Manchester United over the past 16 years, and wish him all the best for his future endeavors,” said the club’s co-owner and executive co-chairman Joel Glazer.

Patrick Stewart was named as interim CEO, in addition to his existing role as General Counsel.

Arnold, who became CEO in Feb. 2022, will offer “transitional support” until the end of December, United said.

The club added that it will search for a new permanent CEO.

“Together with my leadership team colleagues, my job will be to ensure that the club’s foundations remain stable while we embrace changes that can make us stronger over the long term, on and off the pitch, and to support the search for a new permanent CEO,” Stewart said.

The Glazers announced plans in November to seek new investment and instructed US merchant bank Raine to oversee the process, which included the potential of a full sale.

Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani withdrew his bid to buy the club in October, paving the way for Ratcliffe, who owns petrochemicals giant INEOS, to purchase a minority stake.

Ratcliffe also wants to run soccer operations for a club that has endured a period of decline since the retirement of former manager Alex Ferguson in 2013.

Arnold stepped up to CEO after the departure of former executive vice chairman Ed Woodward.

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