Jim McColl has confirmed former Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow is set to take on a chief executive role at Rangers in the event of a boardroom shake-up.
Scottish businessman McColl is leading a group of disgruntled shareholders looking to change the current Ibrox board, which now comprises only Brian Stockbridge and James Easdale following the recent departure of chief executive Craig Mather and fellow director Bryan Smart.
Former Ranagers chairman Malcolm Murray and former director Paul Murray – as well as allies Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch – are backed by McColl and hope to win directorships when the club finally holds its annual general meeting at some point before 31 December.
Rangers, who announced £14.4million losses for the 13-month period to the end of June, widened their search for a new chief executive by advertising the post in the Financial Times, but McColl revealed he already has a suitable candidate in-waiting. “We have spoken to Christian about the role of coming in and helping sort out on the CEO side,” he told presenter Jim White in an interview with Sky Sports News.
“I think Christian is open to that and quite keen, but he first wants to see stability on the board. He needs to see the board sorted out then he would be prepared to join. He is one of the people we think would be a good asset.”
According to the advert in the Financial Times, the club are looking for an “exceptional business leader in sport with a commercial approach and the ability to be innovative”.
The successful candidate – who will have to negotiate their salary – must also posses “a proven track record of success within sport”, the “outstanding” motivational skills needed to take the club back to the Scottish Premiership and the Champions League as well as “strong interpersonal skills capable of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, partners and fans”. McColl, who admitted his own role was “co-ordinating” the potential change at Rangers rather than investing any significant sums of his own wealth in the club, insists his group has the support of former director Dave King. The South African-based businessman, who reportedly lost £20 million when Rangers went into administration in February 2012, flew into Glasgow last week for talks with both the current Rangers directors and McColl’s group about the possibility of a return to Ibrox , as well as possible re-investment.
King claimed to be confident of his return being approved by the authorities after settling a long-running dispute with the South African tax authorities, but Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan told him he would be “a little premature’’ in believing he would have no issues with returning to the Rangers boardroom.
However, McColl said: “Dave came to see me in my office on Friday and we had a good chat. I would be supportive of him. I think he is passionate about the club. I believe he would be a good person to be involved in it. He’s supportive of our group, and we are supportive of him.”
McColl also claimed he “absolutely” had the backing of the fans’ groups.
He said: “We have been meeting with fans groups regularly because we have been approached by them several times. I explained to them why I couldn’t get involved and that I didn’t want on the board.
“I have my own private equity firms and I have a lot of backers who give me their money and trust me to focus my attention on the business that I invest in.
“And I have given them an undertaking that I will align myself with their business and their investments and I intend to be true to that. But I was as passionate about their (the fans’) worries and I was concerned about doing something to help.”