BERLIN (Reuters) - Liverpool Chief Executive Officer Ian Ayre will leave Anfield four months earlier than expected at the end of February to take on a similar role at German second division side 1860 Munich, the clubs announced on Friday.
Ayre joined the five-times European champions as commercial director in 2007 and worked his way through a series of promotions before he became CEO in 2013. Last year, Ayre announced that he was stepping down at the end of this season.
"There is no greater professional satisfaction for me than to leave Liverpool Football Club in much improved health throughout than when I joined the club in 2007," life-long Liverpool fan Ayre said in a club statement.
"This has always been more than just a job for me because of the emotional connection I have with the place."
Shortly after Liverpool's announcement, 1860 Munich confirmed that Ayre would join them.
"We have a clear long-term target and that is the return to the Bundesliga," 1860 majority shareholder Hasan Ismaik said in a statement. "For that, we need people whose character and the skills fit with the club."
"With Ian Ayre, we are signing our first choice. We are confident that his long experience at top level will help us. I look forward to working with him and wish Ian a lot luck," he added.
Details of Ayre's contract were not released but the 53-year-old said he was looking forward to the new challenge.
"1860 Munich does not belong to the biggest or best clubs in Germany at the moment but there is a lot of potential to improve that," he said. "We all have to pull together on and off the pitch and it will be my job to make this happen."
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John O'Brien