Ann Budge steps back as James Anderson joins Hearts board

A management reshuffle is underway at Hearts with owner Ann Budge stepping back, chief executive Andrew McKinlay taking charge and benefactor James Anderson joining the club’s board.

Hearts owner Ann Budge with chief executive Andrew McKinlay.

The changes are designed to let Budge focus more on her role as chairwoman as she prepares to hand ownership of the club to fan-led group Foundation of Hearts later this summer.

McKinlay will assume full responsibility for day-to-day business at Tynecastle Park, while Anderson becomes a director having donated millions of pounds to Hearts in recent years.

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Budge has been in a hands-on management role every day since gaining ownership of the Edinburgh club back in 2014. She is now ceding the daily authority to McKinlay, the former Scottish FA official who arrived in Gorgie last year.

Anderson and wife Morag are part of a group of benefactors who have given Hearts £11.75million in total since 2017. The philanthropist, who is stepping down from his position with Edinburgh investment firm Baillie Gifford next year, also donated more than £3m to help Scottish clubs deal with the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic last year. His financial expertise is now added to the Tynecastle board.

In a statement on the club website, Budge detailed the changes: “After a hand-over period, made more difficult than usual by most of our staff either being furloughed or working from home and most of our operations being in lockdown, I am delighted to confirm that Andrew McKinlay our CEO, has picked up the challenges brilliantly and is now fully in charge of running all aspects of the club on a day-to-day basis.

“For my part, I am now wholly focused on my role as chairman, and in that capacity I am delighted to announce that we will be further strengthening the board when James Anderson joins us as an independent, non-executive director on July 1, 2021.

“James is well known within Scottish football having already significantly helped clubs at all levels to cope with the impact of the pandemic on their clubs and their communities.

“Hearts is incredibly fortunate to have James’ continued support. The value of his business acumen and his advice in driving forward the long-term ambitions of the club cannot be over-stated.”

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