Katrien Meire is CAFC's latest Director
Mundell Flemming comments on the latest appointment to the post takeover CAFC Board:
In his excellent article “I’ll be your friend, Roland” New York Addick welcomed Charlton’s new owner and begun to speculate about what his motives for buying the Club might be. Will Roland Duchatelet be a good owner? Will Roland be our friend?
Only time will tell, of course, but it’s possible that over the next weeks and months we may get a very good indication about the extent of his ambition. And not just for Charlton Athletic, but for his expanding network of Clubs more generally. Remember the last takeover - new scoreboard, new manager, new squad?!
Due to the timing of the takeover and the proximity of the Winter Transfer Window, Monsieur Duchatelet will need to move swiftly, and the indications so far are just that.
We know from Companies House records that both Tony Jimenez and Martin Prothero have now formally left the Charlton Athletic Board of Directors.
Below is the transcript from Companies House:
Current Appointments Report for:
BATON 2010 LIMITED
Created: 09/01/2014 16:57:10
Recent Filing History
Documents filed since 13/07/2012
DATE FORM DESCRIPTION
09/01/2014 TM01 APPOINTMENT TERMINATED, DIRECTOR MARTIN PROTHERO
09/01/2014 TM01 APPOINTMENT TERMINATED, DIRECTOR TONY JIMENEZ
06/08/2013 AR01 29/07/13 FULL LIST
06/08/2013 LATEST SOC 06/08/13 STATEMENT OF CAPITAL;GBP 100
22/01/2013 AA GROUP OF COMPANIES' ACCOUNTS MADE UP TO 30/06/12
This leaves Richard Murray and Michael Slater on the Board, and we believe that the latter is only there to facilitate a handover. Given that Prothero had responsibility for player contracts, amongst other things, and with the transfer window to negotiate and the need to consider a number of existing player contracts, handing those responsibilities on to somebody else would appear to be an urgent priority. Duchatelet will also probably want to appoint a CEO.
As we all know, he’s started already with the appointment to the Board of Katrien Meire, who also works for the Addicks' new sister club Standard de Liege.
At first glance it’s hard to know quite what to make of this move, but the following are worth noting. First, the Club’s announcement says “(she) will be working at the Valley from now on”, clearly implying that she will have executive responsibility, though what that might be is not clear. Second, a lawyer by background, Katrien has been working at Standard Liege as “Legal and International Relations Manager”, an intriguing title. We are likely to see more moves between Duchatelet’s Clubs. Third, she hasn’t been at Standard long and is not included in a long list of Directors on their website.
This suggests that this is a sensible, but low key appointment and means that more Management changes are likely to follow. The nature of these future appointments will tell us more about what we might expect from Duchatelet. There are probably two to watch out for in particular.
Duchatelet is a very successful businessman and is likely to be very confident and independent in his thinking. He probably believes he can improve Charlton as a business and it would be surprising if he doesn’t appoint somebody with that mandate; an experienced Executive with a brief to deliver “efficiencies” and increase commercial revenues. That might be Katrien Meire, but she’s more likely to be a trusted advisor than an agent of change. We should continue to watch this space and perhaps expect Ms Meire to get on with renewing player contracts and Chris Powell’s too, as well as arranging loans?
What’s more interesting is what might happen on the Football side. Does Duchatelet have a plan? Is there a logic to his owning a network of Clubs? If there is, then there is likely to be a lot more to it than a few expedient loans between sister Clubs. If our new owner has real ambition and a grand plan then we might expect a key step to be the appointment of a world class Director of Football to oversee player recruitment and development at all partner Clubs. The same individual would then act as Duchatelet’s confidant on all football matters. Candidates?
I guess we’ll see, but as the Chinese proverb almost says, we may be living in interesting times.