Charlie Green has had a busy and slightly complex business history with many moves that have taken him into a number of business sectors. In view of the importance to Scottish Football of his stewardship of Rangers Football Club and his stated intention to float the club on the Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) I thought it might be of interest to look at his previous business history.
I emphasize the fact that that there are legal entities, which may have ceased trading or not achieved targets, whilst Charlie held a directorship implies no wrongdoing or lack of professionalism on his part whilst he was a director of any such organisation or, indeed, anyone else.
As Business Development Director of Manchester-based Texas Holdings Ltd (a privately owned conglomerate involved in a number of areas including property development and strategic investment services) Green was responsible for the acquisition by Texas of L. Gardner Group Plc, a West Midlands engineering group which was floated in November 1995. In March 2003 the Receivers were called in and the banks were reported to have lost £45 million in the collapse.
Green also orchestrated the purchase by Texas of a controlling stake in Sheffield United FC’s holding company and was responsible for its flotation in January 1997 and was chief exec until March 1998 and I think it’s fair to say that a significant section of the support were happy to wave him goodbye for a variety of financial and football reasons. However, I am leaving Green’s on and off-field footballing activities and his rag-trade dalliance to later posts so as not to over-complicate and muddy the issues.
The connection between Texas Holdings Ltd with L. Gardner Group Plc and Sheffield United FC’s holding company appeared in Annual Reports of Medical Solutions Plc which Green was a non-executive director of at flotation in 1999, becoming chief executive officer in February 2002 when the former CEO departed. Publicly available directorship records show that Charlie’s period as a director with Texas Holdings Ltd ran from April to October 1999 and from October 1998 to October 1999 with its letting subsidiary Peers Hunt Ltd.
However, by February 2002 Texas held almost 8% of the ordinary share capital of Medical Solutions which was ‘cash rich’ in 2002 with Green stating that 2003: ‘Is set to be a fast moving and rewarding year for the Group, which is well positioned for expansion.’
This duly followed in Dubai, Kuwait and Qatar in 2003 and 2004 but the 2004 Medical Solutions’ annual report described it as a ‘challenging year’ for the company, adding: ‘Having made significant investment into our operational capabilities in 2003, the level of revenue growth we anticipated did not materialise as quickly as we had hoped. This led to a drain on the Group’s cash resources.’
The disastrous state of the company, which hadn’t turned a profit for four years in a row, was publicly revealed in November 2004 with its value more than halved to £12 million and shares slumping 58% to close at 8.5p. Shareholders bombarded Medical Solutions HQ with phone calls angry at their losses as many bought shares earlier in the year at 35p when the company raised £2 million to fund expansion.
It was obvious that fresh money was urgently needed for survival and its jewel in the crown Dubai operation, bought only months before, faced being sold as: ‘A last ditch solution’.
Medical Solutions chief executive Charles Green – former Sheffield United FC boss – accepted his future was in doubt and stated: ‘f I get red carded at every meeting then I will be leaving anyway’ although he sought comfort in the scientist company chairman being supportive of his position.
Green, however, added: ‘We haven’t made any executive changes yet; we will be doing that and expect to make announcements in due course’.
The company acted swiftly and decisively and in January 2005 organised a share placement and offer and raised £5.7 million to stabilise the company. They then set about reversing the 2004 decline and by September 2005, Medical Solutions announced that CEO Green would be concentrating his efforts, for the foreseeable future, on the Group’s Dubai business with a view to maximising shareholder value and that his CEO duties would be assumed by the company’s Chief Financial Officer.
Mr Green’s contract had a 12 month notice period and he left Medical Solutions in August 2006 with a £200,000 compensation package and the Dubai operation was disposed of three months later.
Medical Solutions accounts show the company made payments for fees to HFG Ltd, which Green and his ex-wife were directors of, amounting to £147,000 in 2003; £210,000 in 2004; and £39,375 in 2005 but in that year Green became a Medical Solutions employee and the arrangement ceased. The 2003 and 2004 amounts matched the figures shown in the Medical Solutions Directors’ Remuneration Report. HFG Ltd was incorporated in 2004 and struck-off and dissolved in 2009.
The company’s Directors’ Remuneration Report also shows that in 2002 and 2001 Medical Solutions made fee payments of £152,450 and £2,500 respectively to Searby Farming Company Ltd in respect of Green who, with his ex-wife, were both directors of the cereal growing company from February 2001 until February 2004.
In November 2009 Green became a director in Our Enterprise Haslar Limited but this was terminated in April 2010. Andrew Parker Bowles, the former husband of Camilla, was a fellow director in the project to develop and regenerate the former Royal Haslar military hospital in Gosport, near Portsmouth, which included building a veterans’ village on the site.
Asked about Charlie, Brigadier Parker Bowles expressed surprise at his interest in Rangers and said he seemed more interested in horse racing and added: “We were all a bit surprised when he left because he had been driving the business.”
In July 2010 Green became a director in Fort Blockhouse Partnership Limited but in February this year the process to voluntarily strike-off began and the company is now dissolved.
In October 2010 Green re-joined Formation Group PLC as a non-executive chair having previously been a director with and founder chairman of Formation when it was floated back in 1992.
But just over a year later in February 2012 Formation Group Plc announced Charlie’s resignation as non-executive chairman and director with immediate effect for ‘personal reasons’.
Quick as a flash Charlie was on his travels and almost immediately popped-up as the non-executive chairman of the Singapore-based and Bermuda registered mining investment firm Nova Resources Limited which he resigned from in early May 2012 to “pursue other business interests”.
We now know what these opportunities were but the big question is whether a Rangers share flotation will save the club or turn into a lead lifebelt?
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