The San Jose Earthquakes have officially announced the hiring of former Premier League executive Tom Fox as President to replace Dave Kaval, who is stepping down to focus on the Oakland A’s.
Though Fox comes with valuable experience at Arsenal and Aston Villa, the American executive may still have something to prove with the Quakes following a term at Villa that saw a deeply disappointing relegation, followed by this season’s bottom-half finish in the Championship.
The fifty-three-year-old has a background in sports business with a degree in Public Administration from Miami University. He began his career in marketing at Quaker Oats before joining the NBA as the Vice President of NBA Asia from 1994 to 1997. He then served as the Vice President of Sports Marketing at Gatorade for eight years and the Principal of the Wasserman Media Group from 2007 to 2008. He also has experience at Nike.
Fox made his first steps into soccer as the Chief Commercial Office at Arsenal in 2009, in which he was responsible negotiating a then-record £30,000,000 kit deal with Puma and lauded for a successful marketing strategy.
He was then lured to Aston Villa by American owner Randy Lerner in 2014, serving as the club’s Chief Executive. However, his two-year term at Villa was mired by strife and he was forced to resign as Villa hurtled toward their first-ever relegation from the Premier League last season, finishing with half the points of the next worst team.
Fox was criticized in the English media during his time at Villa for his lack of soccer knowledge, which created a disconnect with fans, and was also unable to their halt losses on the business side.
His appointment would appear to be a business-focused hire for the Quakes, aligned with the previous role Kaval served. The club have already begun to build a stronger soccer operations team under Jesse Fioranelli, recently hiring a new full-time scout Bruno Costa, and the Quakes are confident Fox can lead them in a similarly positive direction on the business side.
“Tom is the ideal person to lead the Quakes as they continue to grow as a club,” said Kaval. “He brings years of experience with top clubs in England in addition to a successful career with large global brands. I would like to thank everyone connected to the Quakes, especially the fans, front office, coaching staff and players for everything over the past eight seasons. The club has grown tremendously and is poised for even more success in the future.”