CHARLES Green, the controversial chief executive of Rangers FC, last night brought an end to his tumultuous reign at the helm of the club after standing down with immediate effect.
The embattled Yorkshireman decided to vacate his position of the Glasgow side after conceding the “negative publicity” surrounding him was damaging the club’s reputation.
The Ibrox board said it has already begun the search for Mr Green’s successor, but praised him for helping save the institution from the “dark days” of last summer.
It follows a series of damaging allegations against Mr Green in recent weeks which has seen the board launch an independent investigation amid allegations from former owner Craig Whyte that the 59-year-old, along with Imran Ahmad, a commercial director at Rangers, acted as a front for him when the Sevco group acquired the club’s assets.
Mr Green has also been charged by the SFA for bringing the game into disrepute by making a comment considered to be “of an offensive and racist nature” regarding Mr Ahmad.
The end of Mr Green’s tenure brings to a conclusion a tumultuous few weeks for the club, even by the standards of the previous two years.
Rangers confirmed his departure in a statement to the London Stock Exchange which said that Mr Green had “notified the board that he wishes to step down as chief executive with immediate effect.”
It went on: “Whilst Mr Green strenuously denies any wrongdoing, he has recognised that this negative publicity is a distraction and is detracting from the achievements and reputation of the club.
“As a result, Mr Green has informed the board that he will leave his post with immediate effect and leave the company, following an orderly handover, by the end of May. The board has commenced the search for a new chief executive and expects the role to attract high-quality candidates from both within and outwith the industry. A further announcement will be made in due course.
In the same statement, Mr Green thanked ordinary supporters and said he was “proud” to have played a part in the club’s history.
He said: “Recent events have undoubtedly been a distraction for both myself and all involved with Rangers and I feel that it is appropriate that I step down so that the club can continue to progress back to where it belongs at the pinnacle of Scottish football.
“I am very proud to have been associated with a club of the stature of Rangers and am proud of the achievements of the club during my tenure as chief executive. My thanks go to the Rangers fans, whose support has been tremendous during my time at the club.”
Chairman Malcolm Murray said: “Charles Green was instrumental in helping to secure financial stability for the club. The impact that he had in turning the club around from the dark days of last summer will never be forgotten by the fans who I am sure, like me, will thank him for this and for choosing to put the club ahead of his personal position at this time.”
According to the share prospectus ahead of the flotation of Rangers International Football Club last year, Mr Green has a 8.67 per cent stake in the club, making him the largest single shareholder.
Earlier yesterday, the team’s manager, Ally McCoist, said he had not spoken to Mr Green since last weekend, but assumed it would be business as normal upon his return.
He said: “As far as I know he’s in France having a well-earned break, I don’t have any doubt we will meet when he gets back.”
It remains unclear how Mr Green’s resignation will impact on the independent investigation commissioned by the board over legal action launched by Mr Whyte. Earlier this month, the disgraced former owner released audio recordings of conversations he had with Mr Green and Mr Ahmad.
The SFA has also written to Mr Green seeking clarification about his business dealings with Craig Whyte. Both Mr Green and Mr Ahmad “strenuously deny” any wrongdoing.
In a statement issued last week which sought to outline the nature of the investigation, the Rangers board said: “The chief executive will not be involved in the conduct of the examination. The board wishes to make clear that is not prejudging any of the issues involved and that the object of this exercise is to clarify the situation to the satisfaction of shareholders, supporters, staff and board members.”
No timetable has been set for the investigation, but it will report directly to the four non-executive directors, Walter Smith, Ian Hart, Bryan Smart, and Philip Cartmel.
Last week, Mr Green apologised for the language he used to describe Mr Ahmad in a newspaper interview, stating he was sorry for any offence caused by his use of the phrase, “Paki friend.”
The SFA charged Mr Green in connection with the incident for bringing the game into disrepute by making a comment considered to be “of an offensive and racist nature”.