Leeds United suffered a dramatic and unforeseen setback last night as executive director Adam Pearson quit his job at Elland Road.
In a move which threatens Leeds’ recent stability, Pearson left the post he took up in May, saying that he was “taking a break” but saying his relationship with Massimo Cellino had ended amicably.
News of Pearson’s exit broke yesterday evening, confirmed by the 50-year-old shortly after Leeds suffered their first defeat of the Championship season at home to Ipswich Town.
The former Hull City chairman, who has continued to control rugby league side Hull FC during his time at Elland Road, played a pivotal part in a summer which saw United recruit a new coaching team and add eight players to their senior squad.
Pearson was widely credited with bringing calm to a club who stumbled from crisis to crisis during Cellino’s first year as owner.
In an open letter published on the club’s website, Pearson said: “It is with great disappointment that I have to confirm I’ll be taking a break from Leeds United and football in general, in order to focus on other personal and business interests.
“I have really enjoyed my time at Leeds United and would like to thank everybody, the staff and supporters, that have made me feel so welcome. I’d also like to thank Mr Cellino for allowing me to work closely with him in what I feel has been a very productive summer for the club.
“It is with a huge level of disappointment that I cannot continue to contribute to the revival of what now is a very strong football club once more. I wish Uwe (Rosler) and his coaching team all the very best in their quest for a successful season and it is reassuring to see the club moving forward again in such a positive manner.”
Cellino also insisted that the pair were parting as friends and said he was “keeping the role open” to Pearson. It is not yet clear if Cellino plans to make a separate appointment to assume some of Pearson’s workload.
“I want to thank Adam for his efforts and his loyalty to Leeds United,” Cellino said.
“I will be keeping the role open for him and I hope to welcome him back at some point in the future.