It wasn't possible at the recent Fans Forum meeting to put all the questions posed by CAST members to Roland Duchatelet's representative Lieven de Turck (LdT). He therefore agreed to respond to outstanding matters outside the meeting.
He confirmed that there are no plans to recruit a Chief Executive at present. He said it would be hard to attract a good quality candidate because of the uncertainty about the ownership at present. He was sure that new owners would want to make their own appointments. He acknowledged that this is not ideal but he believes that "one way or another, it is working". On the football side Lee and Steve Gallen communicate directly with Roland Duchatelet. On the non football side LdT is very impressed with the effective staff teamwork. He feels that things are managed in a much better way than when he arrived. He stressed that the cost savings achieved in recent months are making the club a more attractive proposition.
He doesn't think it is likely that Roland Duchatelet would come to meet fan representatives face to face if the club isn't sold shortly. LdT recognises that the club has miscommunicated in the past but he feels that positive steps have been made. He cites the regular sale update meetings with fan reps as an example. Although it has been frustrating not to have been able to give more encouraging news he nevertheless sees these meetings as positive and something which might not be offered by other clubs going through a sale process.
On criticism of Duchatelet's recent media comments he said that Duchatelet certainly did not wish to damage the club's reputation in the eyes of potential buyers by being negative about supporters. LdT said that protests against cost savings at the club were not helpful as in his opinion these savings (most of which had been initiated by staff)were instrumental in attracting and maintaining serious buyers. He said that the club now had a cost base more in line with League One norms and that operating losses were down to about £500k per month.
He noted that a 20% reduction in energy consumption had been achieved in December alone.
LdT acknowledged that a number of current players would be out of contract at the end of the season. He didn't think that the situation would necessarily be more advanced if a full-time CEO was in place. He stressed that Steve Gallen was now involved in the process far more than in the past and that he would be able to give an update at the next FF meeting.