sport

Stockbridge leaves Ibrox role

Brian Stockbridge became the first victim of Rangers chief executive Graham Wallace's restructuring of the business as the finance director left Ibrox.

Stockbridge was a figure of hate for the Rangers support for his association with the Charles Green regime and his 200,000 title-winning bonus, along with his role in the club's financial problems.

Wallace had vowed to look at all aspects of the business with an open mind and not be influenced by others' opinions. But Stockbridge's departure from the club, which was announced in a brief statement to the London Stock Exchange, is the first major change instigated by the chief executive.

Rangers stressed that Stockbridge had received no bonus or "ex gratia benefit", although it is understood his annual salary of 200,000 has been paid up under the terms of his departure.

The statement read: "Rangers announces that by mutual consent Brian Stockbridge is leaving the company and has resigned as a director of the company and its subsidiaries with immediate effect.

"Rangers confirm that no ex gratia benefit or bonus has been offered or paid to Brian Stockbridge in connection with the termination of his employment or office.

"The directors would like to thank Brian for his contribution to the club during a difficult period.

"The board has commenced the search for a new finance director. A further announcement will be made in due course."

Stockbridge arrived at Rangers as an associate of Green and Imran Ahmad, who put together the 5.5million purchase of the liquidation-bound club's business and assets in June 2012.

But he presided over a 14.4m operating loss in the new company's first 13 months of trading and enraged Rangers fans when he doubled his 200,000 salary by claiming a bonus for the team's Third Division title triumph.

Stockbridge was forced to hand that payment back in return for the support of key institutional investors ahead of the club's annual general meeting last month, and he retained his place on the board with 65 per cent backing after a one-vote-per-share election. Wallace confirmed earlier this week the bonus had been repaid.

But Stockbridge's position remained under severe scrutiny as Wallace, who was appointed on November 20, conducts a 120-day review of the club's finances.

The players last week rejected a proposed 15 per cent pay cut across the board while manager Ally McCoist has been involved in a series of meetings with Wallace, the former Manchester City chief operating officer.

The PLC board now consists of Wallace, chairman David Somers, James Easdale and Norman Crighton, none of whom were involved in the initial Green consortium. Sandy Easdale, the brother and business partner of James, sits on a separate football club board.