Head of Research and Innovation exits Chelsea after 16 years

Smith joined Chelsea in January 2007 as Head of Academy Performance Analysis 

Smith joined Chelsea in January 2007 as Head of Academy Performance Analysis 

CHELSEA’S Head of Research and Innovation, Ben Smith, has left the club after 16 years to join Los Angeles-based data analytics firm BreakAway Data.

Smith joined the Blues in January 2007 as Head of Academy Performance Analysis and had been Head of Research and Innovation since July 2018.

This role had five main strands:

  1. Member of Senior Management Team that created and delivered the Academy's Vision 2030.
  2. Managed Academy's internal quality assurance and audit process.
  3. Managed and delivered the Academy's research agenda, key projects and partnerships.
  4. Oversaw the club's Technology Partnerships.
  5. Supported the Academy's 12-21s education programme.

Smith has now started work as Head of International Business for Breakaway Data. The start-up is headquartered in LA, although Smith will remain based in London. He had already been working with the company on a one-year sabbatical from Chelsea.

Writing on LinkedIn, he said: “A huge thank-you to Chelsea Football club for 15+ amazing years working alongside incredible staff, challenging, learning and delivering in a truly elite environment.

“I’m leaving the club... during such an exciting time - new ownership, an influx of super-talented staff and a reimagined shared vision for success - and I believe there are great times ahead.”

There have been huge changes behind the scenes at Chelsea since the takeover by Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali last May:


  • Christopher Vivell (Technical Director)
  • Laurence Stewart (Technical Director)
  • Joe Shields (Co-Director of Recruitment and Talent)
  • Paul Winstanley (Director of Global Talent and Transfers)
  • Graham Potter (Head Coach)
  • Billy Reid (Assistant)
  • Bjorn Hamberg (First-Team Coach)
  • Bruno (First-Team Coach)
  • Ben Roberts (Goalkeeper Coach)
  • Kyle Macauley (Assistant/ Recruitment Specialist)


  • Petr Cech (Technical and Performance Advisor)
  • Marina Granovskaia (Director)
  • Scott McLachlan (Head of International Scouts)
  • Thierry Laurent (Head Physio)
  • Thomas Tuchel (Head Coach)
  • Arno Michels (Assistant)
  • Zsolt Low (Assistant)
  • Benjamin Weber (Video Analyst)
  • Paco Biosca (Medical Director)
  • Ben Smith (Head of Research and Innovation)


  • Jim Fraser (Head of Youth Development and Recruitment)
  • Neil Bath (Director of Football Development and Operations)
  • Jack Francis (Academy Manager for the 9s to 14s)
  • Dimitrios Kalogiannidis (Interim Head of Medical)

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