The 44-year-old South Africa-born Oxford graduate will take up his new post in January after a 14-year association with the American organisation he helped establish as the Gunners long search for Keith Edelman’s replacement comes to an end.
Gazidis — a qualified solicitor who formerly lived a stone’s throw from Highbury — describes himself as a “football guy”.
During his time in the MLS, Gazidis oversaw all negotiations for players’ central contracts and is expected to take over many of the duties previously handled by former vice-chairman David Dein, working closely with Arsene Wenger.
Gazidis said the lure of Arsenal — the last of the Premier League big four to remain in British ownership — was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“Arsenal are a unique club in the world, a very historic club which carries a rich tradition, and for me there was not another opportunity I would look at which could possibly be as exciting as this one,” Gazidis said.
“The great thing about Arsenal is the club has been run to sustain itself, it is not dependant on an outside investor to continue to pump money.”
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood is in no doubt they have found the right man for the job.
“We wanted a good person to manage the club on the business side and a man with football experience was important, Ivan certainly fills that gap for us very well,” Hill-Wood said.
“He will work with Arsene Wenger on transfers. Arsene finds the players he wants to bring into the squad and Ivan will handle all the financial and technical side of player transfers.’’