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Nov 16, 2012

Liverpool confirm exit of communications director

Liverpool director of communications Jen Chang has left the club by mutual consent and returned to the United States for family reasons.

• Blog: Ode to Steven Gerrard

His departure comes less than three weeks after managing director Ian Ayre apologised to a fan who was allegedly threatened by Chang over a spoof Twitter account. Liverpool have confirmed Chang's exit to ESPN but have not linked it to that incident.

A club statement said: "Jen brought a fresh perspective to the overall communications function through the use of a variety of media channels, including social media and blogs.

"He reviewed and refocused the Liverpool Ladies and created a new impetus in relation to their structure, organisation and future playing strategy.

"We would like to thank Jen for his contribution to Liverpool football club during his time here and wish him well in his future career back in the US.

"Jen would like to thank everyone he has worked with during his time at Liverpool for their support and respect and wishes the club every success."

Chang, who joined Liverpool in June, has been on leave in New York, where his wife and children still live, sorting out the family home after Hurricane Sandy devastated the city late last month.

He became involved in controversy after a meeting with Manchester-based copywriter Sean Cummins, who created the Twitter account of fictional journalist Duncan Jenkins.

Cummins, under the alias of Jenkins, published Liverpool-related information picked up second-hand from websites and the tweets of mainstream journalists.

Chang, though, was said to have believed that the information was being leaked by a club insider. CCTV footage confirmed that the two men met at the Evuna restaurant on Deansgate in Manchester on August 22, and Cummins later alleged that Chang demanded to know who was passing on information to him.

In a detailed blog published on October 12, Cummins alleged that Chang, a former employee of ESPN and Sports Illustrated, accused him of costing the club money, arguing that his tweets had caused Roma to increase their asking price for striker Fabio Borini by £300,000.

It was then claimed that Chang threatened Cummins, suggesting he could get "dog s*** coming through [his] letterbox" from fanatical supporters if he continued to tweet about club matters, and that he "might even have to move house" because "football fans are crazy".

Chang subsequently told the Daily Mail that those allegations were "fictitious nonsense", but Ayre later met Cummins twice, handing over a letter of apology - albeit one containing no tacit admission that Chang had made any threats. Cummins has accepted the apology.

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