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Leeann Dempster: Goal is Hibs’ return to top tier

Leeann Dempster was chief executive of Motherwell. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Leeann Dempster was chief executive of Motherwell. Picture: Ian Rutherford

LEEANN Dempster has promised Hibernian supporters she will not be constrained by chairman Rod Petrie in her “relentless” efforts to repair and enhance the status of the fallen Easter Road club.

On her first day as chief executive at Hibs, Dempster immediately moved to try and convince sceptical fans that she will have complete administrative control as she looks to effect improvements both on and off the pitch.

The former Motherwell chief executive is facing the most testing start to her new job imaginable, following Hibs’ dramatic relegation from the Premiership and the uprising among supporters against Petrie.

The group behind the “Petrie Out” campaign, which plans to hold a rally outside Easter Road on Saturday, remain convinced the SFA vice-president will continue to exert significant influence behind the scenes.

But Dempster is adamant things will be done her way from now on and has called for unity at the club to provide her with the best possible environment to achieve her aims.

“I understand people are upset and concerned about relegation, but they should understand that I am confident that I have the authority and freedom to make the decisions I want,” said Dempster. “I am also very confident that with everyone working together we can improve things quickly at the club. There is a lot to be done at Hibernian to return the club to its rightful position in Scottish football – both in terms of success on the pitch and 
in the way we engage with our supporters and our community. I am excited by the challenge, and I will be relentless in pursuit of improvement and success. However, we need everyone to be together, to work together, and to ensure that we maintain the stable platform at the club which is vital to help propel us towards our common goal of promotion back to the Premiership next season.”

In a statement on the club website, Hibs repeated the assertion that Petrie has “handed over all executive responsibilities” to Dempster. In his redefined role of non-executive chairman, Petrie “will focus on helping to facilitate the Change Agenda identified by the board”.

The statement made it clear that there has been no consideration of Petrie cutting all ties with Hibs, which is the stated aim of the “Petrie Out” protest group led by former midfielder Paul Kane.

“He continues to be the conduit between the club and its principal shareholder and benefactor, Sir Tom Farmer,” it added.

Petrie was recruited to the Hibs board in 1996 by entrepreneur Farmer, who rescued the club from receivership five years earlier. They are the only two shareholders of HFC Holdings Ltd, the company which owns Hibs.

In welcoming Dempster to the club yesterday, Petrie expressed his admiration for her resilience in remaining fully committed to the task despite Hibs’ freefall into relegation which occurred after she had initially accepted the job.

“Supporters could not have been surprised if Leeann had second thoughts following the enormously disappointing end to our season which saw us relegated to the Championship,” said Petrie.

“But we know the character of the lady and she never wavered in her determination to join Hibernian.

“The board and I have recognised for some time that change was needed at the club, and we set out to recruit the best possible person to take the club forward. Leeann is that person, and we are delighted that she officially starts work with us today.”LEEANN Dempster has promised Hibernian supporters she will not be constrained by chairman Rod Petrie in her “relentless” efforts to repair and enhance the status of the fallen Easter Road club.

On her first day as chief executive at Hibs, Dempster immediately moved to try and convince sceptical fans that she will have complete administrative control as she looks to effect improvements both on and off the pitch.

The former Motherwell chief executive is facing the most testing start to her new job imaginable, following Hibs’ dramatic relegation from the Premiership and the uprising among supporters against Petrie.

The group behind the “Petrie Out” campaign, which plans to hold a rally outside Easter Road on Saturday, remain convinced the SFA vice-president will continue to exert significant influence behind the scenes.

But Dempster is adamant things will be done her way from now on and has called for unity at the club to provide her with the best possible environment to achieve her aims.

“I understand people are upset and concerned about relegation, but they should understand that I am confident that I have the authority and freedom to make the decisions I want,” said Dempster. “I am also very confident that with everyone working together we can improve things quickly at the club. There is a lot to be done at Hibernian to return the club to its rightful position in Scottish football – both in terms of success on the pitch and 
in the way we engage with our supporters and our community. I am excited by the challenge, and I will be relentless in pursuit of improvement and success. However, we need everyone to be together, to work together, and to ensure that we maintain the stable platform at the club which is vital to help propel us towards our common goal of promotion back to the Premiership next season.”

In a statement on the club website, Hibs repeated the assertion that Petrie has “handed over all executive responsibilities” to Dempster. In his redefined role of non-executive chairman, Petrie “will focus on helping to facilitate the Change Agenda identified by the board”.

The statement made it clear that there has been no consideration of Petrie cutting all ties with Hibs, which is the stated aim of the “Petrie Out” protest group led by former midfielder Paul Kane.

“He continues to be the conduit between the club and its principal shareholder and benefactor, Sir Tom Farmer,” it added.

Petrie was recruited to the Hibs board in 1996 by entrepreneur Farmer, who rescued the club from receivership five years earlier. They are the only two shareholders of HFC Holdings Ltd, the company which owns Hibs.

In welcoming Dempster to the club yesterday, Petrie expressed his admiration for her resilience in remaining fully committed to the task despite Hibs’ freefall into relegation which occurred after she had initially accepted the job.

“Supporters could not have been surprised if Leeann had second thoughts following the enormously disappointing end to our season which saw us relegated to the Championship,” said Petrie.

“But we know the character of the lady and she never wavered in her determination to join Hibernian.

“The board and I have recognised for some time that change was needed at the club, and we set out to recruit the best possible person to take the club forward. Leeann is that person, and we are delighted that she officially starts work with us today.”

 

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