The Chief Executive Officer of Everton Football Club gave his views on the world of business in the beautiful game to students and local business people at an ‘Audience with…’ evening held at the University of Chester.
Robert Elstone visited the Chester Business School to give a talk on the economics of football and how a successful club is run day-to-day. He took questions from members of the Chester business community and from the University’s MBA and Masters students at the event, which was held in conjunction with Best of Chester.
Mr Elstone was initially appointed as Deputy CEO of Everton in 2005, having forged a commanding reputation as an expert in sports business. He arrived at Goodison Park from Deloitte, where he held the position as Director of the Sports Business Group. His first move into the sporting world came a decade earlier when he was appointed as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive of the Rugby Football League.
Through a period of great change in the sport, Robert was responsible for day-to-day management of the newly formed Paris team and was active in the promotion and marketing of the 1995 World Cup. He also enjoyed a non-executive directorship at Castleford Tigers Rugby League Club.
In 2000 he moved to BSkyB as the Director of Football Business Affairs following the company’s acquisition of equity and commercial rights in four leading clubs. Within the role, Robert secured a series of key commercial agreements for the benefit of the clubs and BSkyB before returning to Deloitte.
In his time at Everton, Robert has introduced a number of key organisational and structural changes that have led to improved financial performance, greater stability in the business and a strong, empowered management team.
He has developed a four-pronged operating strategy, designed to grow the Club’s fan base, build loyalty and deliver business growth.
Robert has also been responsible for substantial commercial progress in retail, sponsorship and ticketing. He works closely with the Chairman and the Board on numerous projects and is involved in the Club’s major strategic challenges – the development of new facilities and the search for new investment.
In January 2009, the Club confirmed that Robert was to become the permanent CEO.
Chester Business School holds several ‘Audience with…’ evenings throughout the year offering business people and students the opportunity to network and learn from high profile speakers.
Professor Chris Pyke, Head of Chester Business School, said: “We are delighted to welcome Robert Elstone to Chester. Not only is Everton a premier league football club but it is also a high profile business with a huge turnover and Robert’s words will inspire our students in their own business endeavours.”
Mr Elstone said: “It was a pleasure to talk to such an impressive and well-informed group. Perhaps the two biggest changes in football over the past two decades have been it has become, and is recognised as, a ‘proper’ business and its popularity now transcends all demographic groups in our society. As a consequence, there’s a lot to talk about and everyone has an opinion! That certainly came across loud and clear.”
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