RANGERS will have to appoint a new chairman for their scheduled general meeting of shareholders on Friday after David Somers decided to jump before he was pushed out of the door at Ibrox.
The now seemingly inevitable regime change at the troubled club moved a step closer when Somers resigned as chairman yesterday after 15 months in the role.
The 66-year-old Englishman, who was the first non-Scot ever to become Rangers chairman, followed the same course of action as Greenock businessman James Easdale who resigned as a director last week.
It leaves the Rangers plc board with only two remaining directors – chief executive Derek Llambias and finance director Barry Leach, both close associates of Sports Direct billionaire and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.
The Rangers Supporters Trust has welcomed the departure of the deeply unpopular Somers and called on both Llambias and Leach to also step down ahead of the general meeting which was requisitioned by former club director Dave King.
South Africa-based businessman King tabled motions calling for the removal of all existing directors at Rangers and the appointments of himself, fellow former director Paul Murray and ex-Tennent Caledonian Breweries managing director John Gilligan to the board.
King’s supreme confidence that he has the votes necessary to win the day at the general meeting appears to be on the verge of vindication. The deadline for proxy voting for shareholders is 11am tomorrow, exactly 48 hours before the GM is due to take place at Ibrox.
Followings Somers’ resignation, the first piece of business at the meeting will be to appoint a chairman for the proceedings which should see King assume control.
Somers, a chartered accountant and investment manager, was appointed Rangers chairman in November 2013. In his resignation statement to the stock exchange, he admitted he had found the corporate management of football a culture shock but also claimed a measure of success at Rangers because they “avoided going under” while he was at the helm.
“I have worked in the City of London, the world’s greatest financial centre for decades and enjoyed considerable success,” said Somers.
“At the risk of antagonising my army of critics I would point out that Rangers managed to pay its bills and avoid going under during my tenure.”David Somers
“When I was approached about the chairmanship of Rangers, friends warned me that the world of football has different rules and codes of behaviour. I now know that is a gross understatement.
“I am a non-confrontational man and have always tried to bring harmony to boardrooms and with stakeholders. At the risk of antagonising my army of critics I would point out that Rangers managed to pay its bills and avoid going under during my tenure. These critics might not agree with how we achieved this. I look forward to alternative solutions from whoever is running the club in the future. Despite the personal attacks on me from various sources I genuinely wish the club the very best in the future and I am confident that with such a passionate and vociferous fan base they will be restored to their former glories.”
Somers’ comments cut little ice with the RST who condemned both his stewardship and the conduct of remaining plc directors Llambias and Leach.
“We are delighted that David Somers has finally resigned as chairman of Rangers,” read the RST statement.
“We note that his parting comments are entirely in keeping with his behaviour during his time at the club. His lack of ambition or ability, rampant self interest, contempt for shareholders and fans, and disastrous dearth of understanding of the position of responsibility he held will be his legacy. He will be remembered as one of the most inept and embarrassing chairmen of our wonderful sporting institution.
“Our focus now turns to the remaining directors. They should do the right thing, appoint the nominee directors and then follow Mr Somers out of the door.
“Mr Leach should have resigned when he made disparaging comments about major shareholders in a meeting with fans. This amounted to gross misconduct in our opinion and in any normally operating business he would no longer be in position. He should be suspended and subject to disciplinary procedures after the general meeting.
“Mr Llambias has serious questions to answer over the recruitment process which saw him appointed as Chief Executive. Not least whether the inaccurate information which appeared in his bio on the Rangers website, and was circulated to shareholders, formed part of the information relied on to support his application. His ham fisted attempt to use legal threats to silence legitimate criticism from the outgoing Fan Board has further alienated supporters. Taken together we believe these make his position untenable. He should also be suspended and subject to disciplinary procedures after the General Meeting.
“There is a huge rebuilding process required at the club. We ask the remaining directors to leave now so it can start a few days early.”
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