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SBD Global/December 20, 2013/Franchises

Scottish League 1 Rangers Board Re-Elected As Rebel Shareholders Denied Appointments

Scottish League 1 Rangers' board has "been re-elected while rebel shareholders have failed to gain any director appointments at the annual general meeting," according to STV. All members of the current board were "re-appointed with between 65% and 80% support of voting rights cast in their favour." The result means the "board make-up remains the same" with CEO Graham Wallace, Chair David Somers, Finance Dir Brian Stockbridge and both James Easdale and Norman Crighton as non-exec directors. Opposition shareholders had "sought to appoint" former Chair Malcolm Murray, former Dir Paul Murray, property adviser Scott Murdoch and former BT Human Resources Dir Alex Wilson as Rangers int'l directors (STV, 12/19). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Duncan Robinson reported Wallace -- "who has been in the job since November" -- said, "The result today gives us a resounding mandate." About a "third of shareholders voted against the re-appointment" of Stockbridge -- "the only remaining director from the club's original board." When asked whether "Stockbridge was the long-term choice for the role," Wallace said, "It's too premature to answer a question like that" (FT, 12/19).

STORMY Q&A: The SCOTSMAN reported a "stormy question-and-answer session was held beforehand where financial controller Brian Stockbridge was heckled and quizzed on the costs of the share issue, his own share options and his bonus, which he said he had paid back." Each director, along with board member Sandy Easdale, "gave a personal guarantee" that former CEO Charles Green and former Owner Craig Whyte "were not currently involved in running the club." The board refused to divulge any "more details on who is behind the Blue Pitch and Margarita shareholdings, whose votes are controlled by Sandy Easdale." Wallace "also declined to give details of the club's cash situation following claims the club would run out of money in April." Wallace, who "admitted season ticket prices would rise in the summer," would only state that they had "sufficient cash to continue to trade in the short term" (SCOTSMAN, 12/19).

BOSSES BOOED: In Glasgow, Gary Ralston reported "the top table of club bosses" was "booed repeatedly from fans inside the stadium's main stand." Rangers Manager Ally McCoist "was given a huge ovation when he addressed the meeting and he paid tribute to the supporters." McCoist: "Quite simply, you [fans] are our inspiration." Stockbridge "was given a torrid time." Cries of "out, out, out" were "aimed at him as he took the floor." Stockbridge revealed that "financial advising" cost £2.5M ($4.1M). This prompted a "furious reponse" from the audience (DAILY RECORD, 12/19). In London, Mark Walker wrote the vote came "as a bitter disappointment" to the rebel group. But the "furious fans demanding boycotts" for upcoming Rangers' matches left the rebels insisting "they have forced some change." Murray: I think the thing about today was the reaction they got. Unless the board are stupid, they have to change. It was so overwhelming. I’ve never been to an AGM where there has been such a vociferous opposition” (LONDON TIMES, 12/20).
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