Keswick takes over from Peter Hill-Wood, 77, who has decided to stand down from the board after suffering a heart attack last year. Hill-Wood had been at the helm since 1982 and his father Denis and grandfather Sir Samuel ran the club before him in a family dynasty stretching back to 1927. The change comes at a critical time as manager Arsene Wenger decides whether to spend the transfer kitty chief executive Ivan Gazidis insists is available in what he predicts could be a “big summer” for the Gunners.
It is the first in years that the club are not expected to lose one of their best players, while Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney and Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain have both been linked with possible moves to the Emirates Stadium. The appointment of 73-year-old Keswick is a safe one in financial terms considering he is a former director of the Bank of England and a former chairman of Hambros Bank.
Sir Chips, full name Sir John Chippendale Lindley Keswick, is a member of the Keswick family which control Hong Kong company Jardine Matheson. He is an old Etonian and is currently a non-executive director of a number of companies including DeBeers Sa, Investec Bank and Persimmon plc. Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke said: “I am delighted that Sir Chips has agreed to become chairman. He has a well respected track record in business and he will provide further direction and support in our ambition to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe and to win trophies.”