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Although declaring that they will not replace him in the short-term, Derby County will surely be spending time over the summer mulling over potential replacements for sacked chief executive Sam Rush.
Having been there for more than four years, Rush was relieved of his duties last week for what the club called “gross misconduct and a breach of fiduciary duty”, in other words for not acting in the best interests Derby’s shareholders and other stakeholders.
Rush himself is a 5% shareholder in the club but his removal from the board of directors means a change of direction for Derby County. Owner Mel Morris has declared that new people will join the board soon, but who could come in and take up the top spot at a club looking to get themselves into the Premier League in a year’s time?
For now, that picture is not clear and in the immediate term, Morris and co will be bracing themselves for an eventual court battle with Rush, whose lawyers are taking the matter in hand right now. Rush signed a new five-year deal in 2015 after he was named FC Business Championship Chief Executive of the Year in 2014. He will certainly leave a big gap at the club, though Morris seems to indicate that his actions caused “very serious allegations” to be made against him and he appears to have had no choice but to get rid of Rush.
Derby are a club always looking to be in and around the Premier League and so they need strong leadership. In Gary Rowett, they appear to have succeeded in getting the leader they need for on-pitch matters, but who can they get into the top job off the field to lead business matters? Here we look at two possibilities:
Sheffield United’s transfers have to be praised, bearing in mind the influence that several of their 2016 summer additions have had on what has been an outstanding campaign. The Blades have secured promotion to the Championship and special credit must go to the man who was appointed there as chief executive on a permanent basis this time last year.
Bettis has driven an excellent off the field performance in Sheffield and would be a big loss to them, but certainly would be Derby’s gain should they go down that route.
A slightly off-the-wall suggestion, but those working within horse racing really know their stuff and this chap has spent over 10 years as executive director at Uttoxeter Racecourse. With a varied background including nightclubs, events and race meetings he can handle the pressure that comes with such a diverse business. People have taken this step before, especially in Newcastle, and it has proven to be successful.