He may still be settling into his new office at Elland Road, but Adam Pearson has quickly learned Leeds United have set themselves the same target as Sheffield Wednesday.
Both Yorkshire clubs, who finished in the bottom half of the Championship last season, are aiming to get promoted to the Premier League by 2017.
Following a series of meetings with controversial Whites owner Massimo Cellino last weekend, Pearson decided to quit the Owls’ sporting committee on Monday and become Leeds’ new commercial director.
The former Hull City chief said it was a “tough” decision to leave Wednesday after just three weeks as part of their new management structure.
“You don’t like to let people down but, in life, opportunities come up now and then that are simply impossible to turn down,” said Pearson. “For me, the chance to come back to my hometown club was just too attractive. I couldn’t turn it down. There are some good people at Sheffield Wednesday but, here, I can have more opinions.”
Speaking at a joint press conference yesterday, Cellino explained his reasons for bringing in Pearson, who has previously worked as commercial director at Leeds.
“He has been at Leeds before and has experience,” he said. “I’m doing too much and need to build structure here.”
The Italian has vowed to walk away from Leeds if they are not in the top flight in two years. Pearson’s arrival sparked reports that Cellino, who looked at Wednesday before purchasing Leeds, was looking to sell up up but he has quashed that talk.
“If in two seasons’ time I’m not ready to take the club to the Premier League, I’m going to sell it,” said Cellino, who stressed he will take his time before deciding whether to retain Neil Redfearn as head coach.
“The club is not for sale, if we are not ready to be in the Premier League, I will sell it.
“To sell the club you need six months to do due diligence. What would we do for six months if I was selling the club?”
The press conference took a bizarre twist when Cellino decided to leave the room for a cigarette break, leaving Pearson to face the media alone.
“I’ve got a skill set which allows Massimo to concentrate on running the club, calm waters and focus on the team,” said Pearson. “What we are trying to do is put things in place and make sure we don’t make mistakes again.”