I’ve written several times in this column that Robert Elstone’s position as, initially, the Chief Executive and then, a year ago, the Executive Chairman is untenable.
One of the strange things about Robert’s tenure is that no one who I speak to can lay their finger on the point at which they all agreed that his role would be transformed from that of CEO, who is answerable to the board of directors, to an Executive Chairman who not only joined the board of directors, with his own vote on that body, but also became the Chairman of its meetings after the departure of the former Chairman Brian Barwick.
It seems extraordinary to me to combine the roles of CEO and Chairman in one individual, regardless of who that might be. It’s a system almost designed not to work, seemingly making Robert Elstone accountable to himself.
But it looks to me now as though he can’t possibly continue in that role.
The idea that he could work out all or part of his notice simply wouldn’t work.
Now that he’s announced his impending departure, he becomes a lame duck.
To leave him in post would simply see him fiddling while Rome is burning.
And, quite frankly, I think he has some questions to answer, the principal one being why he insisted on going forward to try to secure private equity investment when, as our story on page 3 makes clear, he was warned that at least one club, which has been widely reported as St Helens, set its face against private equity investment at any price.
To continue to seek it after that was a waste of time and money.
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