Parkhead change

Lawwell quits as Celtic CEO, replaced by SRU’s McKay

Peter Lawwell: leaving in June (pic: SNS Group)

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has resigned and will be replaced by Dominic McKay from the Scottish Rugby Union.

The board confirmed this morning that Mr Lawwell had tendered his resignation and will retire from his role on 30 June.

Mr Lawwell joined the club as chief executive in 2003 and has since overseen a period of unprecedented success which has delivered 29 trophies, including 13 leagues titles, four domestic trebles and participation in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on three occasions.  

The directors confirmed in a statement issued to the London stock exchange at 7am that Mr McKay, the current chief operating officer of the Scottish Rugby Union, will become CEO and a director of the company with effect from 1 July.

Mr Lawwell has overseen the most successful period in Celtic’s history but his resignation follows a difficult period for the club which has seen its trip to Dubai heavily criticised, and the team’s form dip.

Celtic’s chances of catching Rangers in the Premiership title appear remote and after winning all the Scottish league and cup trophies for four seasons they look certain to end this campaign without any silverware, given that the Scottish Cup Final was delayed from last season.

There was also an ignominious exit from both European competitions and criticism of the board’s reluctance to spend big money on top transfer targets, or even modest sums on the likes of Scotland international John McGinn.

Chairman, Ian Bankier said:  On behalf of the directors, shareholders and Celtic supporters all around the world, we would like to thank Peter for his huge commitment to the Company as chief executive officer.

“Peter has served Celtic with distinction for over 17 years during which time, the club has enjoyed unprecedented success both on and off the field.

“I could not have hoped to work with a more able and skilful chief executive – someone with Celtic in his soul, who has had the club’s best interests at the heart of every decision he has made.

“He will be regarded as a man who has played a pivotal role in our history and we should always respect the huge impact he has had on the club.

“Whilst we accept Peter’s decision with great sadness, the club is delighted to announce the appointment of Dominic McKay who will take over the role of chief executive officer upon Peter’s departure.

“Dominic is an experienced executive of the highest calibre, who has been responsible for delivering impressive commercial and sporting success in his current role with Scottish Rugby and as chairman of the Guinness Pro14 League.

BT rugby Dominic McKay

Dominic McKay: integrity

“He will now bring his breadth of high performance sport experience to drive the club forward and our focus will be to support Dominic to ensure a smooth transition. He is a person of the highest integrity with formidable talents that will be real assets to the club going forward.

“The directors look forward to working with Dominic towards delivering future success”.

Mr McKay joined Scottish Rugby in January 2008, aged 29, as director of communications and public affairs from his previous post at Pernod Ricard. He took on a broader portfolio of group responsibilities in 2011, becoming chief operating officer in 2015.

During his time in the role at Scottish Rugby, the organisation has been transformed on and off the field.  He has been responsible for all group commercial matters, corporate affairs, government relations, stadium and facilities as well as overseeing the development of Scotland’s two premier rugby clubs Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby in a European context.  He also sits on the board of a number of international rugby organisations.

Mr McKay said: “Joining Celtic FC as chief executive is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a new challenge I am very excited about taking on later this year.

“I have been incredibly impressed with the vision and people within the club and I look forward to working with them.”

Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond said: “When Peter told me he was considering retirement, I did my utmost, unsuccessfully, to dissuade him.

“Celtic Football Club owes a major debt of gratitude to Peter Lawwell, who has made a unique and transformative contribution to our club. I have been privileged to work with many CEOs and Peter ranks up there with the best of them.

“Over the years, Peter was sought after by many English Premier League clubs, but his love and commitment to the club and Scotland were more important to him.

“Since 2003, under Peter’s tutelage, Celtic has achieved incomparable domestic success and the number of trophies is unsurpassed by any other club in Europe.”

Retiring: Iain Blair (pic: SNS Group)

Beattie replaces Blair

Solicitor Calum Beattie has taken over from Iain Blair as secretary of the Scottish Professional Football League.

Blair has retired after more than two decades in the post having been in the role since 1998, initially joining the SPL before its merger with the SFL in 2013.

Beattie steps up after four years as assistant secretary at the SPFL.

Chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “On behalf of the SPFL board and our 42 member clubs, I would like to thank Iain for his huge contribution to Scottish football during nearly a quarter of a century in the role. Iain had intended to step down in summer 2020 but agreed to defer his retirement by six months to help steer the league through the Covid-19 crisis.

“League fixturing and acting as guardian of the rulebook are difficult tasks at the best of times but Iain has retained a calm positivity and cheerfulness even amidst some of the most challenging moments.

“Calum Beattie has served a four-year apprenticeship with the league and is a very capable and talented individual. I have complete faith in Calum’s ability to step up and take over from Iain.”

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