According to the BBC, Rangers have confirmed that Imran Ahmad, the Commercial Director and close ally of Charles Green, has left the club.
Of course, as a listed company, and as Mr Ahmad is a “key employee” (as described in the Prospectus, RIFC PLC needs to be careful about how it publicises the information, lest it be accused of releasing market-sensitive information inappropriately.
Mr Ahmad was of course not on the PLC Board, but he was on the Board of the Rangers Football Club Ltd.
As regular readers will know, the assets and business of the football club are owned by Rangers Football Club Ltd (the former Sevco Scotland Ltd) and in turn that company’s shares are owned 100% by the PLC.
It is therefore important who sits on the board of RFC Ltd. This is effectively the football side of the business, as is a common structure.
When Sevco Scotland Ltd was incorporated, Mr Green was the sole director. He was joined on the board at the end of June 2012 by Brian Stockbridge, Mr Ahmad and Malcolm Murray. The company then changed its name at the end of July 2012 to the Rangers Football Club Ltd.
In December, following the flotation of the PLC, Mr Murray resigned as a director, allowing him to focus on being non-executive chairman of the PLC.
So the Board of the company which owns the assets and business of Rangers Football Club consists, according to Companies House records as at today’s date, of Messrs Stockbridge, Green and Ahmad.
The latter two have, we are told, gone or are going. So Mr Stockbridge is now in a remarkably strong position (at least on paper) as being the sole “active” director of the private limited company and, along with Craig Mather, the only executive director of the PLC (although Companies House does not seem to have Mr Mather listed as a director yet).
Mr Stockbridge appears only to hold around 71,000 shares, so about one eighth of one percent of the share capital.
By contrast the shareholdings of Mr Green and Mr Ahmad add up to over 11% of the capital. As ex- or soon to be ex-employees of Rangers, then one might expect them to be looking to sell off shareholdings, subject of course to “lock in”.
Mr Green has apparently already sold (or agreed to sell) his stake to the Easdale brothers. Will Mr Ahmad do the same? If so, suddenly there is a new major shareholder in Ibrox and indeed the BBC suggest they are looking to increase their stake to 29.9%. (That figure is important as accumulating 30% or more of a PLC’s shares requires a takeover bid to be tabled.)
It seems bizarrely quickly that Mr Green’s stated goal of the flotation ensuring that there could never again be a dominating shareholder has gone by the wayside!
On the basis however that it is ill wind that blows everybody now good, there will be gainful employment for Rangers PR team in preparing a further announcement for 7 am on Monday to the Stock Exchange. In addition stockbrokers might find that there are more people than normal looking to sell Rangers shares, whilst of course at the same time speculators looking to buy them up if they see a money-making opportunity.
Losing the top two men involved in setting up a PLC, being owners of 11% of the shares, and therefore leaving the company minus a fully appointed CEO and Finance Director would have effects on the most stable of companies.
How will it impact on Rangers? After all, stability is one quality which has been at very short supply in Edmiston Drive for a long time now!
Looking back at recent developments, the words of Freddie Mercury come to mind …
Posted by Paul McConville