BARCELONA: Spanish champions Barcelona have appointed former handball star Òscar Grau as new chief executive.

Grau replaces Nacho Mestre, who requested more time to handle personal matters following 21 months in the job. Mestre will continue as general director of the club overseeing its corporate areas, as well as foundation and social initiatives.

Previously Grau had been director of FCBEscola, Barcelona’s football schools for children between the ages of six and 18. The 52-year-old is a business administration and management graduate and holds a master’s degree from ESADE, a leading Spanish business school.

Grau played handball for Barcelona between 1984 and 1995 and later became head of the Catalan Sailing Federation and the Catalan Handball Federation.