DEREK Llambias has been appointed chief executive officer of Rangers.
Llambias joined the club’s board as a non-executive member on November 2, having previously been managing director at Newcastle under Mike Ashley, who has a 8.9 per cent share in the Ibrox club.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
David Somers will revert to his previous role as non-executive Chairman.
Somers said: “I am delighted that Derek has agreed to step up to the Chief Executive role.
“This is a successful outcome to the process, announced on 27 October 2014, which involved interviewing a number of high calibre candidates.
“Derek has impressed us with his grasp of the issues since joining the group and brings a wealth of experience, particularly from his time at Newcastle United, which we feel confident will be invaluable to Rangers.”
But the 57-year-old’s appointment could yet set Rangers on a collision course with the Scottish Football Association.
Hampden chiefs are ready to punish Ashley and the club over the billionaire Newcastle United owner’s Ibrox involvement and have issued both with notices of complaints relating to “dual ownership”.
Ashley was one of the original investors in the initial public offering when Rangers was floated on the AIM Market - a sub-market on the London Stock Exchange - at the end of 2012.
But Ashley had already promised the SFA that he would not own more than 10 per cent of Rangers as part of an agreement designed to limit his influence at Ibrox while he remains in control at St James’ Park.
Although his current stake in the club stands below that limit, Ashley also runs Rangers’ retail division and has recently handed the club a £3million loan.
But the Sports Direct tycoon’s behind-the-scenes influence has continued now that his right-hand man Llambias has added the chief exec’s role to the directorship he was given last month.
Another of Ashley’s associates, Barry Leach, has also been hired as a consultant.
Both Rangers and Ashley will face a principal hearing on Tuesday, January 27, next year - with the appointment of Llambias expected to form a major part of the SFA’s case.
If found guilty, Rangers could face a range of punishments that include a censure, fine, being thrown out of the the Scottish Cup, a transfer ban or even having their membership of the SFA terminated.
Ashley, meanwhile, risks a £10,000 fine if he fails to have the charges dropped.
Llambias is the fourth man to have held the chief exec role at Ibrox since the club’s liquidation crisis and follows Charles Green, Craig Mather and Graham Wallace.
He has already been representing the club in negotiations with departing boss Ally McCoist this week. The club’s record scorer has triggered a 12-month notice period but although it is understood the club want him to go now, no deal could be reached after he met Llambias for a 40-minute showdown on Wednesday.
Llambias’ first official duties will be to address disgruntled shareholders at Monday’s annual general meeting at Ibrox.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS