Aberdeen Football Club is strengthening its senior management team to deliver an ambitious strategy over the next three to five years that includes growing revenues from £14.5million to £20million.
The two goals are to become a European Top 100 Club and, central to that, to deliver the £50million plans for a community sports hub, football training academy and new stadium.
In pursuing this growth and modernisation strategy, the Club has appointed Robert Wicks as Commercial Director.
Chief executive, Duncan Fraser, said: “The Club is in an enviable, healthy financial position. Indeed, we are one of the most financially robust Clubs in Scotland. If we are to consistently challenge for the very top flight of Scottish football and participate regularly in European football, we need to be ambitious and forward-thinking. We must dramatically grow our revenues and, to do this, we need a top-flight leadership team with experience and innovation, particularly in sales and marketing. We are delighted to have secured someone of Rob’s calibre into this new position and are confident he will play an integral role in implementing our strategy.”
With 17 years’ experience in sports marketing, a proven track record in delivering successful transformational change and commercial strategies, Mr Wicks brings a wealth of national and international expertise to the Club. Responsible for increasing corporate, retail and ticket sales, as well as driving new revenue-generating initiatives, he will lead the Club’s marketing and communications efforts, building on the work of the existing team.
Mr Wicks, will join the Club in March from Powerboat P1 Management Limited where he is managing director. He joined the organisation in 2007 as Commercial Director to work as part of a new management team tasked with taking the Powerboat P1 World Championship to a new level. After securing new host venues in France, Spain, Sweden and Turkey and generating significant new revenues, he was appointed chief operating officer with responsibility for operational performance. In 2017, he became managing director, responsible for overall business performance during a significant period of organisational, operational and technological change and delivering two award-winning race events in Scotland.
Prior to his roles with Powerboat P1, he was head of sponsorship for SuzukiMotoGP. Originally from Johannesburg, Mr Wicks began his career with Times Media Limited, one of South Africa’s leading publishing businesses. He has also held the role of Marketing and Commercial Manager for the mortosports division of sports marketing agency, Octagon.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Wicks, added: “I’m excited about joining the Club, which has so much history and heritage but which is on the cusp of delivering real innovation in its commercial operations. I’m also thrilled to be moving to a part of the country that offers so many of the outdoor pursuits my family and I enjoy.
“Football and motorsports may not seem to have much in common but the sales and marketing principles and the drivers for change in a digital world are very similar. At AFC, I will develop a comprehensive commercial strategy which will broaden and strengthen sponsorships, enhance and develop social media engagement and adopt a customer/fan centric approach.”
Mr Fraser reiterated the importance of securing new training facilities and a stadium as part of their growth ambitions. He said: “Our plans, arguably the most critical undertaken by the Club in its 114-year history, are central to our modernisation programme and we need to gear up to make the most of the new facilities.
“We want to be at the heart of the community, inspiring our citizens and fans by being a Club they can be proud of, competing and winning at the highest levels. Through the power and passion of football, AFC can touch the lives of so many across the region and through the brand, we can promote Aberdeen and the region in a way no other organisation can.”
With one complex that encompasses a new stadium, football training academy and community sports hub, the Club says it will have a focal point for footballers and their coaches to train and interact with the community, as well as off the pitch operations.