Express & Star

Billionaire businessman joins Aston Villa board

The chief executive of a US investment firm has joined Villa’s board of directors days after buying a stake in the club’s ownership group.


Michael Angelakis, chairman and CEO of Atairos, is one of four new director appointments listed at Companies House for both the club and its UK holding company NSWE.

Atairos last week completed its purchase of a minority stake in V Sports, Villa’s ultimate holding company, which is based in Luxembourg and controlled by the club’s billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.

In a statement confirming the deal, the duo said Atairos would provide “capital to fund infrastructure investments and drive growth”.

Despite an excellent season on the pitch which has Villa competing for a Champions League place, the club are eager to increase their revenues in order to better compete with the elite in the long-term.

Major plans to redevelop Villa Park by rebuilding the North Stand and increasing the stadium’s capacity beyond 50,000 were placed on hold “for the foreseeable future” in December.

Angelakis is joined on Villa’s board by Atairos managing director Chester Hall, with Bashir Lebada and Sarah Watterson complete the list of new appointments.

Canadian Lebada is currently CEO of OCI Fuels, a company in which Sawiris owns a 38.8 per cent stake. Watterson, meanwhile, was previously a managing director for Edens’ Fortress Investment Group and worked alongside the Villa co-owner at the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team.

The four appointments are the first to Villa’s board since that of former chief executive Christian Purslow, shortly after Sawiris and Edens took over the club in 2018. Purslow left his role last June.

Atairos is reported to have more than £5billion in equity capital. Speaking last week, Angelakis said: “We have deep respect for Aston Villa, its rich history and loyal fan base, world-class management team and employees, and the V Sports ownership group.

“We are confident this partnership will provide further long-term support for the growth of the Premier League and Aston Villa’s men’s and women’s teams.

“We look forward to working with Nassef, Wes and the Aston Villa team to strengthen the club’s ability to compete and achieve even greater success.”