Chelsea hire Guy Laurence as chief executive to fill role vacant since 2014

Chelsea have announced the appointment of former telecommunications boss Guy Laurence as the club's new chief executive.

Laurence will become Chelsea's first formal chief executive since the resignation of Ron Gourlay in October 2014 when he takes up his new post next month, and will report to the club's three-person board of chairman Bruce Buck and directors Marina Granovskaia and Eugene Tenenbaum.

In a statement announcing Laurence's arrival on their website, Chelsea said he will "take overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the club, including the continuing development of our commercial activities in the UK and around the world, focusing on increasing club revenues".

"We look forward to Guy joining the club during an exciting period for Chelsea on and off the field," Buck said.

"He will be working with the owner and the board to increase our commercial revenues and maximise digital opportunities, identifying new ways to best serve our supporters here in the UK and further grow our international fan base."

Born in Manchester, Laurence has previously served as chief executive of Vodafone UK as well as CEO of Rogers Communications, one of Canada's largest communications and media companies.

His experience in sport comes from his role as a director Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns a number of U.S. sports teams including the NBA's Toronto Raptors, NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto FC of MLS.

Laurence's appointment is the latest step in Chelsea's concerted effort to grow their commercial income.

The club's commercial director Chris Townsend told the Financial Times in October that the Blues want to take their revenues north of the £650 million mark "over the next seven to 10 years" by agreeing a wide range of new commercial partnerships.

Chelsea announced a record turnover of £361.3m in their latest annual financial results earlier this month, along with an overall profit of £15.1m.