RON Gourlay has been appointed chief executive at Reading FC following a boardroom reshuffle.

Gourlay, who enjoyed huge success with Chelsea between 2009-2014, takes up his new position today, having met the club's new Chinese owner, Dai Xiu Li, yesterday.

Gourlay replaces Nigel Howe, who has been Royals chief executive for the past 21 years and will now assume the mantle of vice chairman.

Rumours of Gourlay's impending appointment were rife over the weekend and they have now been confirmed by the club.

“I am delighted to take up this new position as Chief Executive at Reading Football Club and I consider it a real honour to be presented with the fantastic challenge of guiding the club to the next level,” said Gourlay.

“I look forward to working closely with all the staff who, through their dedication and commitment on a day-to-day basis, strive to make this club successful at every level.

“I am excited to be working alongside manager Jaap Stam and his coaching team, Director of Football Brian Tevreden and a very promising squad of players ahead of what I am sure will be another exhilarating campaign in the Sky Bet Championship.”

Reading Chronicle: Nigel Howe opened up on the reckless Anton Zingarevich spell.

Nigel Howe has been made Reading FC vice chairman.

Gourlay has worked in the football industry for 25 years and had senior roles with both Manchester United and sports merchandise giants, Umbro.

He replaced Peter Kenyon as Chelsea's chief executive in 2009 and was a key part of their success over the next five years as Blues won the Champions League in 2012, the Europa League in 2013 plus a Premier League and FA Cup double in 2010.

Gourlay's arrival means Howe, originally appointed as chief executive to oversee the move from Elm Park to Madejski Stadium, will become vice chairman.

Howe's main priority now will be to head the £600m Royal Elm Park project near the Madejski Stadium and accelerate the building of the club's new state-of-the-art training ground at Bearwood.

Howe, who was handed a place on the EFL board recently, said: "After more than 21 years as chief executive I am extremely excited to be appointed to the position of vice chairman.

“On a personal note, I have thoroughly enjoyed every twist and turn during my tenure as CEO and, on behalf of all the staff and supporters, I would like to welcome Ron to Reading – a magnificent club with tremendous potential.”