Partnership with MLS side Atlanta United
Cormack’s £5m investment as he takes Aberdeen reins
Change: Stewart Milne (left) and Dave Cormack (pic: SNS Group)
US-based businessman Dave Cormack is to replace Stewart Milne as chairman of Aberdeen as the club revealed a new partnership with MLS side Atlanta United.
Milne will step down after 22 years at the helm at next month’s AGM, and described the incoming Cormack, currently vice-chairman, as his ‘natural successor’.
Atlanta resident Cormack is to inject a £5m investment into the club, £2m of which will come from the MLS side, whose president Darren Eales will join the Dons board as part of a major reshuffle.
Chief executive Duncan Fraser will be stepping down after 17 years, but will remain as a non-executive board director along with Milne. Directors Ian Jack, Duncan Skinner and Craig Brown will also be stepping down, however former Scotland boss Brown will remain in an ambassadorial role while Skinner will continue as chairman of the board of trustees of Aberdeen FC Community Trust.
“As an Aberdonian and lifelong Dons fan, I’m honoured and privileged to become chairman of the famous Aberdeen,” said Cormack. “I’m also pleased to be able to announce a strategic partnership with Atlanta United.
“The new investment and this partnership with Atlanta will allow us to punch above our weight, aspiring to attain Uefa’s top 100 status, and trying to level the playing field against significantly higher income generated by Celtic and Rangers.
“Atlanta United has record-breaking MLS attendances and season ticket sales, as well as the most successful fan engagement programme in Major League Soccer.
“We will be looking to learn from their experience, taking what works in Scotland, and applying it to improve our relationship with fans, create better match day experiences and develop potential sponsorships and other commercial initiatives that will generate revenues.”
Talking of his pride at being chairman for more than two decades, Milne said: “I have always said I would relinquish the reins when the right opportunity arose and I believe that time has now come.
“I’m proud to have had the opportunity to lead the club I love for over two decades. It’s been a real privilege but not without its challenges. Like the fans, I’ve shared in a rollercoaster of emotions from pure joy and exhilaration through to frustration and despair.
“We have been in a consistently healthier position for several years now and I’m pleased to be able to hand the club over to safe hands in the knowledge that we are debt-free and have more than doubled revenues from around £7.8m in 2013 to almost £16m today.
Aberdeen’s new state-of-the-art training centre has been named after Cormack, with the club having been given the go-ahead after a lengthy legal battle to start construction of their new £50m stadium at Kingsford.
Aberdeen, meanwhile, have reported a record turnover of £15.9m in their latest annual accounts.
The figures for the financial year ended 30 June 2019 saw a £500,000 increase in turnover, though total staff costs rose £700,000 to £9.2m to put the wages to turnover ratio at 58%, up from 56%.