• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Oxford United announce Anindya Bakrie and Erick Thohir as new owners


Sep 27, 2022

OXFORD United’s protracted change of ownership is complete, the club has announced.

Indonesian investors Anindya Bakrie and Erick Thohir have finalised the deal that sees them take a controlling 51 per cent stake in the U’s.

It ends Sumrith ‘Tiger’ Thanakarnjanasuth’s four-and-a-half-year term as owner and chairman, although the Thai businessman remains a minority shareholder.

Tiger, Horst Geicke and Pairoj Piempongsant ‘remain fully invested in and supportive of the club’, the U’s said in a statement.

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Grant Ferguson, who was appointed a director of the club earlier this year, will assume the role of chairman.

He said: “Oxford United is a club with a proud history and incredible supporters so I am honoured to have been asked to take on the role of chairman.

“The first thing I want to do in that capacity is acknowledge the immense contribution that Tiger has made to the club as chairman and shareholder, and I look forward to his continued support as we together take the club into its next chapter.”

United have also announced they hope to appoint Tim Williams as chief executive, subject to EFL approval.

Williams has previously served as chief financial officer at Inter Milan and group financial controller at Man Utd.

Niall McWilliams is to assume the role as chief strategy officer, while also serving as project director for United’s stadium move project.

Ferguson added: “The football business is rapidly changing, and standing still is not an option.

“We must adopt best practice in stakeholder engagement, people development, data science and analysis, financial management and business planning to ensure we have a commercial infrastructure that supports and leverages our on-field ambitions.

“I am excited at the prospect of bringing together the talents and experience of the shareholders and management to build a sustainable future for the club.

“We would all like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our ever-patient and loyal fans for their unwavering support for the club.

“Together we will carry on the U’s wonderful history and strong tradition.”

The news comes 18 months after it emerged United’s Indonesian investors were looking to secure the majority stake and updates have been sparse since then.

Bakrie, Thohir and Geicke have gradually increased their stake during that time, but Tiger remained chairman until the deal was formally completed.

In the meantime, Bakrie and Thohir passed the necessary English Football League (EFL) checks that allow them to take control of the club.