Benefactor Anderson takes seat on Hearts board
Support: James Anderson.
City fund manager James Anderson has been appointed to the Hearts board as owner Ann Budge prepares for a return to the Scottish Premiership.
He joins as a non-executive director, with Mrs Budge saying she is “very fortunate” to have him as the club begins its recovery from the effects of the pandemic.
Mr Anderson has donated millions of pounds of his own wealth to the Tynecastle outfit in recent years, his generosity and that of other benefactors seeing Hearts receive nearly £12m since they first became involved.
“We will be further strengthening the board when James Anderson joins us as an independent, non-executive director on 1st July 2021,” said Mrs Budge.
“James is well known within Scottish football, having already significantly helped clubs at all levels to cope with the impact of the pandemic on their clubs and their communities.
“Hearts is incredibly fortunate to have James’ continued support.
“The value of his business acumen and his advice in driving forward the long-term ambitions of the club cannot be over-stated.”
The financial services veteran gave more than £3m to Scottish clubs to help them in their fight against coronavirus and also donated £250,000 to help out the women’s game amid the Covid crisis.
Based in Edinburgh, he has been with Baillie Gifford since 1983 and is due to retire next year. As co-manager of the FTSE 100 listed £11bn Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and the US based $40bn Vanguard International Growth Fund, he has helped deliver great investment success.
Mrs Budge made the announcement as part of a lengthy update for supporters at the end of a season which saw Hearts win a swift return to the top-flight following relegation in the curtailed 2019-20 campaign.
Addressing the effects of the pandemic, she said she expects operational income to be over £1million down on an already reduced financial plan.
Warning: Ann Budge (pic: SNS Group)
She also said plans continue for the transfer of majority ownership to the Foundation of Hearts this summer, though cautioned supporters as to what this will actually mean in reality.
“It is apparent from recent communications and indeed headlines, that there is still a lack of understanding amongst some supporters and indeed, some football pundits, regarding what this will mean for day-to-day decision making,” she said.
“In terms of operational decision-making, Hearts’ supporters will have no more rights than supporters of any other club. We all know that a club does not have to be fan owned for supporters to make their views known. That will not change.
“The club must continue to be run and decisions must be taken, by a professional board of directors, taking everything into account and in accordance with an agreed long-term strategy.
“If the shareholders are unhappy with the performance of the board, they will have the power to make that known at the AGM in terms of how votes are cast via the Foundation of Hearts. In every other sense, nothing will change.
“Failure to grasp this fundamental principle, is in part what has caused fan ownership to fail at other clubs.”