Rangers CEO Craig Mather talked a few short weeks ago about the need for “stability”. I suspect that moves to oust him and two other directors, coupled with public criticism by senior employees of other senior employees, and over the weekend various articles in the media suggesting concern re the company’s finances were not what he classed as “stability”.
Indeed his comment has the potential to be up there in the ranks of ill-timed statements alongside that of General George Sedgwick who, at the Battle of Spotsylvania in the US Civil War’ disparaged the enemy snipers with the words “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist…”
But the focus for this jotting is on the Chairman, Walter Smith.
His move to that role, in place of Malcolm Murray, was meant to calm the troubled waters, giving a figurehead all could unite around. That hasn’t worked and indeed today the BBC is reporting that Mr Smith is on the point of quitting.
His job as Chairman is to hold the executives to account in the interests of shareholders. With all the public squabbling, what is Mr Smith doing?
If he is working behind the scenes then it is ineffective. The problem is that what might work with a dressing room of prima donna players is different from what is effective with money-focussed business people.
Should the Chairman be issuing public statements to reassure investors? Should he be speaking out to tell the fans that the mess is being sorted? Should he be providing visible leadership?
If the choice is maintaining “dignified silence” and having rumours of his intentions leaking to the media, or, in fulfillment of his commercial and legal duties, making public statements to clarify the company’s position and his own, then I can only see the latter as a valid course.
It must be time for the Chairman to earn some of his salary and to make clear where he, and the business, stands.
Unless of course the situation is already so bad that any statement by the Chairman would make it worse!
After all, if General Sedgwick had just kept his head down, I wouldn’t be mentioning him today!
Posted by Paul McConville