FORMER Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray claims that Ibrox chief executive Craig Mather’s assertion that he decided the controversial levels of executive salaries at the club was “misleading and vexatious”.
Mather robustly defended the Ibrox club’s accounts published on Tuesday which showed an operating loss of £14million for the 13 months to June this year.
Rangers had £11m in cash, and no bank debt. That was after raising more than £35m in finance, including a share offer which brought in around £22m from the Initial Public Offering. It was revealed that former chief executive Charles Green’s total pay including severance and bonus was £933,000, while finance director Brian Stockbridge got around £400,000, about half of which was a bonus.
Mather said: “It was a decision taken by the remunerations committee and the chairman at the time, which was Malcolm Murray. So Malcolm Murray decided the remunerations for Charles Green and Brian Stockbridge and, unfortunately, the directors are duty bound to honour those scenarios historically.”
Murray responded in a statement released last night, which read: “In the interest of transparency and honesty I feel I must respond to Craig Mather’s comments on remuneration. I joined the board on the recommendation of the Institutions to instil a high level of corporate governance at Rangers. This proved to be very difficult as I, Phil Cartmell and Walter Smith were outvoted by the Green placements at every turn. The contracts I was shown last summer were significantly higher than current levels and I struggled to get them down. Cenkos [then club nominated adviser and broker] and I tried again to lower them at IPO but found severe resistance.
“Pre-IPO, I was the only non-executive and, as a private company, there was no remuneration committee. Craig Mather was proposed by Charles Green and rejected by me and two other board members. His remuneration was never certified by me.
“When Phil Cartmell left Craig Mather was Interim CEO and remuneration was not confirmed. These are symptoms of why the shareholders and fans demand change. Craig Mather’s assertion that I decided the executive salaries is misleading and vexatious. In fact, Phil Cartmell was chairman of the remuneration committee which never met once, despite his attempts.
“Craig, I agree that there is a call for fairness in your statement. Do you, therefore, agree that we, the shareholders and fans unite to ask these people to pay these bonuses back for the good of the club?”
Murray left the club last summer after standing down as chairman. However, businessman Jim McColl’s group of investors and shareholders have proposed that Murray, along with former Ibrox director Paul Murray, Scott Murdoch and Alex Wilson, join a revamped board at the club’s forthcoming AGM – although that move has been blocked by the current board.