Peter Kenyon, the former head of English soccer team Chelsea, is leaving Creative Artists Agency two years after the U.S.-based talent management company hired him to expand its international sports unit.
Kenyon joined CAA to help it enter the markets for soccer player representation and media rights. Phillipe Le Floc’h, the former marketing director at European soccer’s governing body who CAA brought in last year, is also leaving as part of the changes, the company said today in a statement.
“As a result of a strategic restructuring related to CAA Sports’ international business, Peter Kenyon and CAA Sports have jointly decided to end our employment relationship,” the agency said today in an e-mailed statement.
Kenyon’s departure comes after FIFA, soccer’s governing body, said it was looking into whether an investment fund Kenyon set up for CAA that buys portions of soccer players’ economic rights violates its rules. CAA said the personnel moves aren’t connected to the fund.
Kenyon didn’t respond to a text message seeking comment. His assistant Lara Golder didn’t return a telephone call. Le Floc’h, who’s based in Dubai, was in meetings and unavailable to comment. Peter Draper is among those leaving CAA. He worked with Kenyon at sports jersey supplier Umbro.
FIFA is investigating the fund, which invested in the future transfer value of about 15 players. Kenyon said the fund’s managers are “very conscious” not to influence trades, which would be a breach of FIFA rules.
Kenyon spent five years with Chelsea after being poached from Manchester United following billionaire Roman Abramovich’s takeover of the Blues in 2003. The club won back to back league titles in 2005 and 2006, its first league championships since 1955, as Kenyon spent more than 100 million pounds ($156 million) on players. The talent helped the west London club keep its annual place in the Champions League, where it lost the 2008 final to Manchester United.
Los Angeles-based CAA, which represents actors including George Clooney, branched into sports in 2006 and formed a alliance with Porto, Portugal-based Gestifute, which manages Real Madrid’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Jose Mourinho. Gestifute’s is led by Jorge Mendes, who with Kenyon, advises the player fund.
Last October, private investment company TPG Capital bought a 35 percent stake in CAA. The agency said it was part of a plan to create a $500 million fund to make future investments.