Abramovich’s Management Style Raises Many Questions

Matt Clinch | News Assistant

U.K. soccer team Chelsea have this week sacked their eighth manager in nine years which has lead to criticism from numerous pundits and fans up and down the country. It's also raised questions about the owner of the team, Roman Abramovich's style of management and why people would want to work for him.

Ian Walton

The Russian billionaire purchased the club in June 2003 and it has since won ten major trophies, although the holy grail of the European Champions League has only been achieved once.

That victory came this summer, but it wasn't enough to save manager Roberto Di Matteo who was dismissed earlier this week by the club after just eight months in charge.

"Basically he's just a man who's very impatient for success," author Dominic Midgley, who's written a biography on Abramovich, told CNBC.

But Chelsea have also been more successful than other clubs that have had constant management changes. For example, U.S. football team Oakland Raiders, who have seen seven coaches in the same period of time, have gained little success.

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"It may be from oligarchical culture, where you reach a point where you are so rich and powerful that you can do whatever you want at any time, because you always know that you have the wealth to bring somebody else in."

Midgley said aides for the Russian billionaire have previously told him that he prefers to spend money rather than hoard it.

"He has the philosophy that you can't take it with you, so you might as well enjoy its trappings while you're still around," he said. Midgley admits that if he was a soccer coach he would opt for a rather more "sane" management style than what Chelsea has to offer.

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Figures from audit firm Deloitte show that payoffs for the club have been expensive after a long line of management changes.

In the last four years around 63.3 million pounds ($100 million) was spent on termination payments made to bosses and coaching staff. But this must be a small amount for Abramovich whose net worth is estimated at 7.6 billion pounds ($12.3 billion).

"Powerful men generally do not like to be defied and Russians are no exception," John McRoberts, founder of investment firm Aurora Russia Limited, told CNBC.

"Roman Abramovich is a fantastically successful businessman and like most successful Russian businessmen he has a hands-on approach to business and likes to hold the reins" he said.

"Would I work for him? Absolutely, if I had the right deal."