Park in frame
Dave King to stand down as chairman of Rangers
Privilege: Dave King (pic: SNS Group)
Dave King has announced he will be stepping down as Rangers chairman after four-and-a-half years in the post.
The South Africa-based businessman, the club’s major shareholder, broke the news at today’s annual general meeting.
He said it had been a ‘privilege’ to be a member of the board but the time was right to focus on his private affairs and would be leaving the role in the new year after another share issue to raise funds.
King, 64, said his long-running wrangle with Mike Ashley and Sports Direct – negotiations over the terms of their retail agreement continue – was a low point in his tenure.
He also pledged Rangers’ commitment to keeping star striker Alfredo Morelos at the club. Despite talk of a £40m deal and the club’s need for new funding, he insisted the Premiership title is more important to the club than money in the bank.
“My view is not to sell him under any circumstances and there would be no financial pressure whatsoever to sell Alfredo,” he said.
“I think I can safely say Alfredo will not be going anywhere in January. I’ve said to the manager, if you get offered £25m for him, £30m, I wouldn’t sell. You make your decision.”
Speaking about his decision to resign as chairman, he told shareholders at the Clyde Auditorium: “I would not step down if the club continued to need my services and support. But it doesn’t.
“The crisis is now finally behind us and normal activities can resume. In order to have smooth succession planning I therefore advised the board last month that this will be my final AGM.
“The hard work of recovery is now done and I intend to step down from the board in the new year as soon as the new funding round has been concluded by the sub-committee and the new devolved operating structure for the club that was approved yesterday has been fully implemented. I estimate that will take about four months.
“I have stated in public many times before, being chairman of Rangers is not an experience I have been able to enjoy. It always remained a duty.
“Dealing with the Sports Direct legal issues was extremely time consuming and frustrating. Mike Ashley’s attempt to have me committed to jail for speaking ill of Sports Direct in a TV interview was certainly a low point.
“Despite the personal trials and tribulations, I want to state that being the chairman of Rangers has been, by far, the greatest privilege of my business life and I will continue to use my shareholding influence to support the club and its board.”
He added: “I now look forward to paying more attention to my South African and international businesses and to finally having the time to work with my children in the manner I had intended before my duty to Rangers put that plan on the backburner.”
King was one of the main figures when taking control of the Ibrox club in 2015 but was sanctioned by the Takeover Panel for acting “in concert” with George Letham, George Taylor and Douglas Park to acquire more than 30% of shares.
Attention will now turn to who will succeed King, with deputy chairman Park, the bus tycoon, thought to be one of the leading candidates.