Peter Hill-Wood has been forced by ill health to stand down as Arsenal's chairman after 31 years in the post and the club have responded by promoting Sir Chips Keswick from the board to replace him.

Hill-Wood, whose father and grandfather were previous Arsenal chairmen, suffered a heart attack last year and he had been struggling to fulfil the demands of the role. A board member since 1962, Hill-Wood described the decision as "difficult" as Arsenal had been "a huge part of my life" but he felt the time was right and he gave his blessing to Keswick.

Sir Chippendale, better known as Chips, is a 73-year-old former chairman of Hambros Bank who has been on the Arsenal board since 2005. He will work directly with the chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, on the club's football and business ambitions.

"I am delighted that Sir Chips has agreed to become chairman," said Stan Kroenke, the majority shareholder. "He has a well respected track record in business and he will provide further direction and support in our ambition to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe and to win trophies."