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Chief executive Mark Jenkins leaves West Brom

By Joseph Masi | West Bromwich Albion | Published: | Last Updated:

Chief executive Mark Jenkins has left Albion after deciding to retire following the club's promotion to the Premier League.

Mark Jenkins

He will be replaced see executive director Xu Ke – who is known as Ken – who has been working alongside Jenkins since 2018.

Widely seen as one of the shrewdest and most savvy CEO's in the game, Jenkins was appointed Albion's finance director in 2002.

He was promoted to chief executive in 2010 and played a key role in the club’s most successful period of the modern age as the Baggies spent a cumulative 10 seasons in the Premier League.

Jenkins first decided to retire in 2016 after helping to oversee the transition of ownership from Jeremy Peace to Guochuan Lai.

But an ill-fated spending spree in 2017 led to Lai asking Jenkins to return to the club – which he did.

“This is the second time we have reluctantly had to say farewell to Mark but I respect his decision and would like to place on record our appreciation of his leadership back to the Premier League," Lai said.

“He has put the club on a stable footing and led us out of a difficult corner. We have always admired his business philosophies and will continue to follow the principles Mark has firmly established.”

In a statement published on Albion's website, Jenkins said: "When I was asked to return by Mr Lai, my primary objective was to retain Premier League status and I remain angry with myself that we were unable to achieve this, even if Darren Moore restored some pride towards the end of that season from where we had been mid-February.

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“If Premier League status could not be retained then there was no doubt that the single-set requirement was to gain promotion as quickly as possible while at the same time attending to the back-office work to bring back a level financial control that had been lost.

“After the longest and hardest season in history, promotion was deservedly secured.

"It was an exhausting and emotional night at The Hawthorns that I shall always treasure – but it also provided confirmation that we were back in the Premier League and that my job was done.

"I had informed the owners before lockdown that I would be leaving at the end of the season as if we were unsuccessful then I felt it was appropriate that somebody else take the reins to ensure this great club return to where it should be.

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"Equally, if we did achieve the target then my role would come to a natural and positive conclusion.

“It was obvious that given the Covid pandemic it was essential that the club be promoted this season as the financial challenges facing the remaining Championship clubs is unquantifiable and, quite frankly, frightening.

“Albion is like a family and we all knew this - from the directors, players and staff - something which has already been explained so eloquently by many of the senior players.

"From the start of the pandemic, the whole club has acted superbly and I am very proud to have been a part of that.

“It has become increasingly clear to me that football is entering a new post-pandemic age which will demand fresh ideas, fresh initiatives and fresh outlooks.

"I believe the challenges ahead will be best tackled by someone with renewed energy and different ideas.

"Yes, promotion eases some of the pressures but our club needs to explore revenue opportunities across a range of new areas.

“I am happy to admit that the last six months, in addition to the previous two years, have been the most challenging and draining in my career and I feel the time is right for me to step away and enjoy some down-time.

“In the 18 seasons I have been at the club I have no doubt made some mistakes and I am sure every supporter has his own thoughts.

"But I am proud to have played a part during this period in which Albion spent 12 seasons in the Premier League and six seasons in the Championship.

"In those six seasons, we enjoyed four promotions and two play-ff campaigns. It has been an exhilarating experience climaxed by those events last Wednesday which take us back to the top tier once again.

“This could only be achieved with the help of Slaven Bilić and the fantastic squad and backroom staff that he and Luke Dowling assembled over that 12 months.

"This was supported with the best management team any chief executive could wish for and all club staff with whom I have had the pleasure of working.

“They will now carry the club forward. Of course it will be difficult but one thing my 18 years has taught me is that Albion as a club – fans, players and staff - is never better than when the odds are against them and there are bigger fish in the waters.

"That will be the case again. But we have always relished defying those odds and I look forward to watching them do so again.”

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ

West Bromwich Albion reporter.

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