Ron Gordon: Hibs mourn chairman's death - family's 'determination', Dave Cormack letter, agm planned

Hibs chairman Ron Gordon has died at the age of 68.Hibs chairman Ron Gordon has died at the age of 68.
Hibs chairman Ron Gordon has died at the age of 68.
Hibs are in mourning following the death of their executive chairman Ron Gordon after the 68-year-old lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday.

The US-based businessman wrote an open letter to supporters earlier this month revealing he had been receiving treatment for cancer for much of the past year but had been in regular contact with club officials. A previously frequent visitor to Scotland, Gordon had been away from Easter Road since the autumn due to his illness, and Hibs released a statement on Tuesday at 4.30pm announcing that he had died earlier in the day.

Gordon purchased the Edinburgh-based club in 2019 from HFC Holdings, a company owned by Sir Tom Farmer and Rod Petrie, vowing to “build on Sir Tom's legacy and take the club forward”. The ownership of Hibs is now set to pass on to his family, with his son Ian currently employed as head of recruitment. They say that they are “determined” to leave a “lasting legacy”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The club wrote: "Hibernian FC today announced that the Club’s Executive Chairman and majority shareholder, Ronald J Gordon, passed away earlier this morning. Ron recently wrote an open letter to supporters, telling them that he had been receiving treatment for cancer for much of the past year.

“Ron had a passion for football and through Hibernian FC his dream, commitment and love came to the fore, whilst always ensuring the club became the best version of itself to leave a lasting legacy. The Gordon Family are determined to see this through.”

Chief executive Ben Kensell, who had been a frequent traveller to the States to visit Gordon during his illness, will continue to oversee Hibs’ operations alongside the present board of directors. He said: “Everyone at the club is deeply saddened at the news. Our thoughts are with Ron’s wife Kit, his sons Ian and Colin, and the rest of the Gordon family. Ron may have been our chairman and owner, but he was first and foremost a devoted family man with a close and loving family. We would ask that at this difficult time, the family’s privacy is respected as they mourn their loss.”

Under Gordon’s watch, Hibs finished third in the cinch Premiership in the 2020/21 campaign and also reached the Scottish Cup final in the same season. He successfully guided the club through the Covid-19 pandemic and oversaw change behind the scenes at Easter Road which included the high-profile departure of then chief executive Leeann Dempster and significant investment in hospitality at Easter Road. Managers Jack Ross and Shaun Maloney were appointed and fired during his stewardship, with the current head coach Lee Johnson earning his support during a recent turbulent spell. Hibs are presently fourth in the cinch Premiership.

Hibs have confirmed that the club’s annual general meeting (AGM) will now be held early next month and are not expected to make any further comment on Gordon’s death, with the current directors continuing to work as they have been during his cancer treatment. The club released their season-ticket packages for next season on Monday and are currently searching for a new director of football.

Hibs’ capital rivals Hearts led the tributes to Gordon from other clubs on social media, posting: “The thoughts of everyone at Heart of Midlothian are with Ron’s family, friends and colleagues across the city at this desperately sad time.” Many others left warm words for him, with Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack – who knew Gordon well and is also based in America – saying: “Ron’s loss will be felt by many, but none more so than his close-knit family. He was a devoted family man, a passionate football supporter and a huge proponent of the Scottish game. I will miss him on a personal and professional level and send my deepest condolences to his wife, his two sons and his football family.”

The Scottish Professional Football League also paid their respects. Chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Everyone at the SPFL is shocked at this devastating news. Ron was one of the most decent, hard-working, straightforward and enthusiastic figures in our game. It was clear that Hibs very quickly became far, far more than a business venture for Ron – his obvious pride in being its custodian and his unstinting dedication to the club were the clearest evidence of how much he loved being involved in Hibernian FC. In only a few years, he benefitted Scottish football more widely as he gave selflessly of his time and his very considerable array of talents. On a personal level, the superb work he did to help drive forward the SPFL Strategy Review was of enormous benefit. He will be very sadly missed across the entire game.”

Murdoch Maclennan, chairman of the SPFL, added: “Everyone who dealt with Ron could see immediately that he was a man of enormous integrity, energy and vision. Having already achieved so much in his business life, he was an incredible force for good at Hibernian FC and in his role on the SPFL board. He believed fervently in teamwork and driving towards a common cause and was genuinely committed to the betterment of the entire game. The thoughts and condolences of everyone at the SPFL go out to Ron’s family and his many friends and colleagues at Hibernian FC at this very difficult time.”