Newcastle United has appointed Atlanta United president Darren Eales as the club’s new Chief Executive Officer.

He’ll remain with the Major League Soccer side through August 8 before officially joining Newcastle on August 22.

Eales has managed Atlanta United since their MLS debut in 2017, steering the expansion team to lift the league trophy, US Open Cup and Campeones Cup, all while boasting some of the league’s highest attendance records.

“It has been the adventure and honor of a lifetime to help build Atlanta United,” Eales said in a release. “I will always be grateful to Arthur Blank, both for giving me the initial opportunity, and for providing unparalleled support and leadership throughout the journey.

“I have been privileged to work with an amazing team of people who rolled up their sleeves and made a vision into reality. And I have loved being a part of this vibrant city, with its brilliant, passionate supporters. Thank you, Atlanta, and thank you 17s.”

Eales originally joined in September 2014, after standing as executive director at Tottenham Hotspur and working briefly at West Bromwich Albion’s front office. Under his leadership, Atlanta United has seen several world-class figures representing the badge, including head coaches Tata Martino and Frank de Boer and Josef Martinez.

He also oversaw the signings of the three most expensive incoming players in league history, boasting the likes of Thiago Almada, Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez from Argentina whose transfer fees reportedly totaled an estimated $46.5m.

“Darren Eales is one of the best hires I’ve made in my career and the strength and success of Atlanta United to date is a credit to him not only as a leader, but as a passionate footballer,” owner Arthur M. Blank said in a release. “I’m thrilled for Darren to have this new opportunity to lead Newcastle and I see it as a very positive reflection of Atlanta United and what our club has achieved in such a short time.

“Darren is more than ready to lead Newcastle and I know he’ll be an outstanding leader of that club. He leaves with my deepest respect, admiration and very best wishes for him, Faith and their two beautiful sons.”

He now joins Newcastle, who are currently led by a consortium that’s spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Their roster also includes former Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron.

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