NEW chief executive Alastair Smith has revealed his desire for more diversity at York City board.
York’s takeover was completed on Tuesday when Jason McGill’s JM Packaging sold its 75 per cent stake for £350,000 to the club’s supporters fund.
Hours later, South African investor Glenn Henderson was confirmed as the new majority shareholder with a 51 percent stake, with the trust owning the remaining 49 percent.
City’s two-person board now consists of chairman Henderson and chief executive Smith, with the latter a life member of the trust since its inception in 2002.
However, there are plans to expand and diversify the board, Smith explained.
“The board will be supplemented,” confirmed the general director. “At this stage we need to get in there and make sure we understand what’s going on.
“Then we will get a sense of where we need specialists in which areas in the council.
“Maybe we should have a woman on the council. The council (used to) consisted of fairly old people.
“Let’s have diversity on the board. The fan base is diverse now, so I think it would be great to have more diversity (on the board).”
Relations between the former McGill chairman and most York supporters had long soured by the end of his 16-year tenure, partly over a decision not to have two Trust members on the club’s board, according to a contractual agreement between the two parties.
With Henderson and Smith in office, the split is 50-50 between outside investor and long-time Trust member.
“I think if you’re going to have a real partnership you need representation from the fans, I think that’s very important,” Smith insisted.
“Without that, you don’t have a partnership. I think the fans will feel part of the club again. When people feel like it’s their club, they want to be more involved.”
While the news of the takeover was met with a lot of positives among fans on social media, Smith was keen to stress: “We need to prove ourselves.
“We need to do something that makes fans turn around and say ‘Wow.’
“There was such a big divide between the board and the majority of the supporters.
“Trying to narrow this gap will take some effort. But I think we will do it in time.”
Smith’s path to the role of chief executive began with a “not very flattering” publication about the Trust in the There’s Only One Arthur Botham newsletter in 2020.
The correspondence was sent to members of the York City South group, which Smith founded 26 years ago.
From there, Smith, who is a “firm believer in the Trust”, began discussions with fan group chairman Mike Brown about his continued involvement with the organisation, leading to a CEO offer from Henderson.
“Glenn had an obvious passion for the sport,” Smith said of the pair’s first face-to-face meeting last week.
“My first thought was, ‘Would some lad who was born in Hartlepool and lived most of his life in South Africa and America be interested in York?’
“But very quickly it became clear that it was his dream to participate in football club.”
Explaining his role, Smith added: “Football is more Glenn’s business. Initially, I will work with all staff and handle budgeting and financing.
“The focus is on this. We will look at the budget set by the previous (owner) and compare it to our budget and see if there are any gaps or surprises.”