GRAHAM WALLACE has left his post as Rangers’ chief executive just two days after the club accepted Mike Ashley’s £2million loan offer.
The League One champions confirmed former Manchester City executive Wallace’s departure in a 7am statement to the Stock Exchange.
In a separate statement made to the AIM - a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange - the crisis-hit club also announced it had accepted Ashley’s £2million loan offer, effectively handing control to the Newcastle United owner.
Wallace was brought in as chief executive last November by PLC chairman David Somers to lead the restructuring of the club.
He was criticised by the fans for failing to reveal the true state of the club’s fragile finances, and also found himself at odds with football board chairman Sandy Easdale - who controls a significant 26 per cent stake through shares and proxies - as he tried to push through a £16million rescue package being offered by former oldco director Dave King.
Easdale, though, was determined to forge an alliance with Ashley, and the Sports Direct tycoon has now got his way.
Wallace’s only ally on the board, finance director Philip Nash, resigned on Friday and now he has also decided to walk.
The Stock Exchange statement on his departure said: “Rangers announces that Graham Wallace, chief executive officer, has resigned as a director and employee of the company and its subsidiaries with immediate effect.
“The directors would like to thank Graham for his contribution to the club during a difficult period.
“The board has commenced the search for a chief executive officer. A further announcement will be made in due course.”
Wallace’s exit will come as a major blow to boss Ally McCoist, with the pair having formed a close bond in the 11 months they worked together.
News of Wallace’s resignation from his £315,000-a-year role was swiftly followed by confirmation of Ashley’s £2million interest-free loan.
It will give Rangers some much-needed breathing space following rumours the club were due to run out of cash on Tuesday.
Magpies chief Ashley - who owns 8.92 per cent of the Glasgow giants - saw off a late bid by Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy to put forward his own emergency loan facility and has gained greater say at the Ibrox club.
Although Ashley is prohibited from owning more than 10 per cent of Rangers while owning Newcastle after he signed an agreement with the Scottish Football Association three years ago, he does run the club’s retail division and holds naming rights to the stadium.
The terms of his loan now gives him security over the Albion Car Park and Edmiston House facilities on the doorstep of Ibrox - and crucially gives him the power to select Wallace and Nash’s board replacements.
Reports have suggested Derek Llambias and Stephen Mucklow will be the men put forward.
The club’s second Stock Exchange statement confirmed Ashley’s move had been made in the name of his company MASH Holdings Limited.
It said: “The board is pleased to announce that the company’s subsidiary, The Rangers Football Club Limited, has entered into a credit facility agreement with MASH Holdings Limited pursuant to which MASH shall make available the sum of £2million for drawdown by the company.
“MASH is a shareholder in the company holding 8.92 per cent of the voting rights in the company. The facility shall be secured by standard security granted by the company over Edmiston House and Albion car park. The facility shall be for a six-month term and is interest-free. The facility will be used by the company for general working capital purposes. Under the terms of the facility, MASH has the right to appoint up to two directors on the board of directors of RFCL.
“Further to the announcement made on 8 October 2014, the company has entered into a letter agreement with MASH (the ‘withdrawal letter’) pursuant to which the company has invited MASH to put forward the names of two nominees of its choice for appointment to the board, such appointments being subject to all necessary regulatory approvals being successfully completed for such persons nominated by MASH.
“In addition, the company confirms that MASH has agreed the immediate withdrawal, by virtue of the withdrawal letter, of the notice served by MASH on the company on 7 October 2014 requiring the company to convene a general meeting of the shareholders of the company to put resolutions to such shareholders for the removal of Mr Graham Wallace and Mr Philip Nash as directors of the company.”