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Club News


7 November 2018

Wigan Athletic director Joe Royle, CEO of International Entertainment Corporation Yan Min Zhang and Wigan Athletic executive chairman Darren Royle.

Profiles of the Wigan Athletic Board of Directors, following the completion of the transition of ownership of Wigan Athletic from the Whelan Family to International Entertainment Corporation (IEC).

  • In Profile: Wigan Athletic Board of Directors
  • Hong Kong-based International Entertainment Corporation (IEC) formally completed their takeover of Wigan Athletic on Wednesday 7 November 2018
  • Profiles of Wigan Athletic executive chairman Darren Royle, director and chief executive Jonathan Jackson and fellow directors Joe Royle and Thomas Chan.

International Entertainment Corporation (IEC) have formally completed their takeover of Wigan Athletic Football Club.

We profile the newly appointed directors of Wigan Athletic Football Club following today’s announcement.

Darren Royle – Executive Chairman

Darren Royle has vast experience of football operations management and business leadership having worked in football brands and rights, performance analysis and data, academy management and commercial partnerships in senior executive roles within football business, before latterly launching and owning his own football businesses in the UK.

Royle played football at non-league level for Altrincham, Ashton United and Radcliffe Borough amongst others having previously been on the books of both Oldham Athletic and Rochdale.

Football business has always been Royle’s passion and he has worked with some of Europe’s top football brands in a commercial capacity. In the UK, he has specifically developed an entire tier of academy football in the English football pyramid.

Royle is also co-founder of a new MBA qualification with Manchester Metropolitan University around a sporting director course. Prior to the football business, Royle worked in senior management in the pharmaceutical industry where he completed an MBA in Marketing and Finance whilst holding an MSc in Exercise & Nutrition Science and BSc in Sports Science and Psychology.

Jonathan Jackson – Chief Executive

Jonathan Jackson remains as Wigan Athletic’s chief executive following the transition of ownership from the Whelan family to International Entertainment Corporation.

Jackson’s association with Latics stems back to the club’s early beginnings as a supporter when his father Stan – who had been a fan since the 1940s – joined the Board of Directors of the club, firstly in 1974 before re-joining in 1985. Stan, who later became Latics’ club president, is the man who famously persuaded Dave Whelan to purchase the club 1995.

From the terraces of Springfield Park to being the club’s chief executive as Latics lifted the FA Cup in 2013, Jackson has seen it all in terms of the Wigan Athletic story.

A qualified chartered certified accountant, Jackson worked for Fairhurst Accountants and was previously the finance director at Total Fitness before his dream move to the DW Stadium 2010.

In eight years in the role, Jackson has worked closely with managers such as Roberto Martinez, Uwe Rosler and the current first team manager Paul Cook whilst also playing a critical role in the behind the scenes operation to ensure the football club’s long-term stability. Passionate about the impact the football club can have in the local community, Jackson is also a Trustee of the award-winning Wigan Athletic Community Trust. In equal measure, Jackson has always stated his desire to see local players featuring for the Wigan Athletic first team, a passion that may bear fruits in the near future with the ongoing success of the Wigan Athletic academy under the influence of academy manager Gregor Rioch.

Joe Royle – Director

Former England international footballer Joe Royle has also joined the Wigan Athletic Board of Directors.

Royle is a member of the League Managers Association Hall of Fame of English Football and has played at the highest level in a career that spanned 556 games, in which time he scored 188 goals for teams such as Manchester City and Everton.

As a player, Royle was Everton’s top goalscorer when the Toffees won the First Division title in 1970. He also helped Manchester City to win the League Cup in 1976.

Following the end of his playing career, Royle managed over 1000 competitive league games for clubs such as Manchester City, Everton, Oldham Athletic and Ipswich Town.

Royle managed Oldham between 1982 and 1994 in one of the greatest periods in the club’s history as he led them to the Second Division title in 1991 and promotion to the top-flight for the first time in the club’s post-war history.

Such success meant Royle was in high demand and he returned to Everton midway through the 1994-95 season, leading the Toffees to a famous FA Cup win in his first season in charge.

After leaving Everton, Royle joined Manchester City in 1998, where he won back-to-back promotions to take the then Maine Road club from the third tier to the Premier League by 2001.

Royle’s next job came with Ipswich Town, with whom he enjoyed relative success given the club’s financial difficulties as he recorded two play-off finishes, albeit his side lost in the semi-finals on both occasions to West Ham United.

Royle left Portman Road in 2006 and would return to Oldham for a brief spell as manager in 2009 before more recently working in advisory roles at both Norwich City and Everton.

Thomas Chan

Chan Chun Yiu Thomas is an executive director of IEC, having been the group's general counsel since February 2017.

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